The RTA’s proposed options for a new Grafton bridge and the controversial ‘grey study area’. The study area remains limited to the map above despite community backlash against it.
The RTA’s proposed options for a new Grafton bridge and the controversial ‘grey study area’. The study area remains limited to the map above despite community backlash against it.

Private group bridge study

THE RTA has appointed independent engineering consultant firm ARUP to help identify a preferred location of a new Grafton bridge.

But the controversial ‘grey study area’ which has narrowed the future bridge options to the Dovedale area of Grafton remains intact, an RTA spokesperson confirmed.

Member for the Legislative Council Greg Donnelly issued a press release about ARUP’s appointment, which began in April, yesterday.

“ARUP is a well respected consultancy, with a strong focus on the environment and sustainability,” Mr Donnelly said.

“The work being performed by ARUP builds upon the release of an issues report released by the RTA this week, which articulates the community’s view about the proposed crossing, based on workshops, information sessions, submissions and correspondence received during the first round of consultation.

“The paper is now available on the RTA’s website.

“ARUP will now look in more detail at the environmental, cocial and economic aspects of the proposal by conducting geotechnical, hydrology and engineering studies.

“A community involvement plan is being developed, which will allow the Grafton community to have their say into the plan as these studies take place.

“When developed the route options will be put on public display for further feedback from the community.”

Mr Donelly’s office reported the MLC issued the press release, a job normally left to the Transport and Roads Minister, because that portfolio was ‘in transition’ following David Campbell’s scandalous step down last week.

The portfolio has now been split between the newly appointed Roads Minister David Borger and Transport Minister John Robertson.

Meanwhile, it is unknown at this stage what impact Clarence Valley Council’s proposed expansion of the Heritage Conservation Area to most of Dovedale will have on the RTA’s bridge proposals.

An RTA spokesperson said the authority would make a statement on the heritage issue today since the relevant person was not available late yesterday.

The proposed expansion of the Heritage Conservation Area coincides with the council’s Heritage Advisory Committee unanimous objection to the proposed bridge options at its meeting on May 4.

Committee member John Melenhorst said quite a few of the 100 houses affected RTA’s Option D were heritage listed.



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