Grafton locals win bridge protest

GRAFTON residents concerned about the proposed locations for a second bridge seem to have won a small but symbolic victory, with the Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA) indicating it is now considering alternate sites outside the originally proposed study area.

An RTA Grafton Bridge focus meeting held on Tuesday night at the Grafton community centre was well attended by local residents.

Present at the meeting was Kim Dahl, chairman of the Concerned Citizens Group, a group which has questioned the RTA’s proposed crossing options into the Grafton CBD.

According to Mr Dahl, the RTA representative present at the meeting was asked to confirm whether or not the RTA was considering alternate sites outside the study area.

“A lady put a question to him and said ‘we’re looking for a definitive yes or no, are you looking outside the study area?’, and he said ‘yes, we are’, that’s what he said in front of 45 witnesses,” Mr Dahl said.

This was also suggested but not definitively confirmed by an RTA spokesperson who yesterday

told The Daily Examiner “investigations are continuing into options for a second road bridge over the Clarence River at Grafton.

“Route options are not necessarily restricted to the four preliminary options publicly displayed earlier in the year.

“All comments received to date are being considered and further technical investigations are being carried out.”

The spokesperson also confirmed mysterious “survey cameras”, which had appeared around town, were monitoring traffic flow information for use in the project’s planning process.

The four current crossing models proposed by the RTA, listed A to D, have been a source of debate within the community since their public unveiling early this year.

The RTA’s proposed A and B models involved a second crossing built adjacent to the current bridge, while the C and D models would see a second bridge built about 100 metres downstream from the existing structure, linking Villiers Street to the Pacific Highway to the south.

The fact the RTA might now be considering alternatives to these models was good news for some Grafton residents concerned about the impact a second bridge crossing into Grafton’s CBD would have on the town’s amenities, traffic flow, safety and heritage value.

“As far as we’re concerned, as the Concerned Citizens Group, it was a success; it’s exactly what we’ve been aiming for,” Mr Dahl said

“We do not want a transport corridor through the middle of town and this we can see is a step in the right direction.”

Mr Dahl said there was a good turnout on Tuesday night, adding it showed there was a real concern in the community about the issue.

“As far as the residents of town go, there were a lot more residents than there were members of our group,” he said.

“Everybody’s of the same opinion, so maybe now the RTA is starting to listen.”

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