Buildings 'in path of bridge'
THE ROADS and Transit Authority will have to come up with options for a proposed second Grafton bridge that do not have an adverse effect on the city’s heritage.
The Clarence Valley Council Heritage Advisory Committee has voted unanimously to oppose any traffic routes that threaten heritage buildings in Grafton.
Committee member John Melenhorst said the May 4 meeting made its decision after looking at options the RTA had for the approaches to a bridge downstream from the current crossing.
He said about 100 houses would be affected by the RTA’s Option D, which planned to route traffic from the Summerland Way down Dobie and Villiers streets to join the bridge approaches.
“Twenty-five of these houses would have to be demolished,” Mr Melenhorst said. “Of these, quite a number are heritage listed, including a series of cottages in Clarence Street, one in Dovedale Street, another in Clarence Street and several others.
“One is the former Glendon Private Hotel in Grieve Street. Keith Willis bought it and it is now a private residence. It is a part of Grafton’s heritage.”
Mr Melenhorst’s century-old house, called The Rosary, in Bacon Street, is not in danger of demolition, but the property will be right on the border of the bridge approaches which could affect the back of his property.
“Looking at the map, the edge of the traffic area could be in my swimming pool,” he said.
Mr Melenhorst said the traffic flowing into Grafton could also affect the usage of the sports fields at Fisher Park, and the Grafton Show.
“They won’t be able to close Villiers Street for the show the way they have for the past 144 years,” he said.
“And they will have to build fences at Fisher Park to stop kids chasing balls onto the streets in front of the B-doubles that will be coming down the road.”
Mr Melenhorst has poured over maps of the district and believes he has found a number of alternative routes that avoid destruction of Grafton’s heritage and also counter the problems of diverting heavy vehicles through built-up areas of the city.
“They could go down Butter Factory Lane, cross the river and come out on the Pacific Highway,” he said.
“That would mean none of the heavy vehicle traffic would come into the centre of Grafton.”
Mr Melenhorst said another alternative would be to send the traffic down North Street for a bridge to be built approximately near Kirchner Street boat ramp.
He also thinks the RTA should have another look at the proposal to build a bridge across Susan Island linking Turf Street with Ryan Street in South Grafton.
Mr Melenhorst said the Trans Regional Amalgamated Infrastructure Network (TRAIN) proposal to link Coffs Harbour to south-east Queensland via the Summerland Way, providing an alternative heavy vehicle route to the Pacific Highway is another reason to find different options for a second bridge site.
“There hasn’t been much said about this at the moment, but if it goes ahead – and people like (Federal Member for Page) Janelle Saffin are involved in it – then there is going to be a big increase in heavy vehicle traffic through Grafton,” Mr Melonhorst said.