Major works ready to start on new Grafton bridge
UPDATE: The contractor that will design and build the new Grafton Bridge is expected to be announced shortly, according to a Roads and Maritime Services representative.
"Preparations for major work to start on the new Grafton Bridge are on track and progressing well," the RMS representative said.
According to the update, a new flood model for the Clarence River is being finalised and a Flood Mitigation Report will outline the measures the project will take to minimise the impact of the new bridge.
Plant and wildlife surveys are currently being conducted to expand on the survey work done in the environmental assessment.
"It is expected major work will start by the end of the year and the bridge will open to traffic in 2019, weather permitting," they said.
Twenty-six of the 27 properties acquired in preparation for the build have been finalised.
EARLIER: Community concern is growing over progress on the long-awaited $185 million Grafton bridge.
Roads and Maritime has not issued a construction update since January this year when it announced it had acquired 22 of the 27 properties needed to build a bridge.
In that update, works were continuing on the flood model to take into account the new bridge.
Property owners within the Grafton and South Grafton levee system were being consulted over new works needed on the flood protection system.
Roads and Maritime also announced that three companies had been short-listed to build the project and those were being evaluated.
An announcement on the preferred contractor should be made in the second quarter of this year.
However, without a construction update for three months, Grafton residents have started raising concerns over the project and its proposed opening in 2019.
Grafton's Col Hinton said despite promises at the last election, construction on the Grafton bridge appeared to have stalled.
"I can't see anything (that has been done)," he said.
Craig Howe said while plenty had been done, it was not slow going.
"It would be definitely happening - granted it's slow," he said.