The rising cost of bridge inaction
HOW much has the RTA spent on working out the best place to build a second Grafton bridge?
The answer is far from simple, but we do know:
- Arup Pty Ltd was awarded a $4.6 million contract for Summerland Highway, Preferred Route Options Delivery in March last year. The contract ends on December 28, 2012;
- In 2009/10 the RTA spent $1.75 million on the second crossing of the Clarence River project, and;
- The RTA’s budget for 2010/11 is $2 million.
RTA staff, including the new project manager for a second crossing, Bob Higgins, will be preparing this morning for today’s information sessions – 1pm and 6pm at the Grafton Community Centre – on the issue.
An RTA representative issued a statement yesterday regarding the “two stages” of the Arup contract.
“Stage one covers the development and assessment of route options, including a preliminary environmental assessment,” the statement read.
“Stage two will involve a broader environmental assessment and concept design of the preferred route option.
“ARUP Pty Ltd is currently carrying out work in stage one of the contract.
“At this time, the RTA has not authorised ARUP Pty Ltd to start work on stage two of the contract.
“Stage one work builds on and updates work from previous studies of a second crossing of the Clarence River at Grafton.
“Both stages include provision for extensive community consultation.”
As to the immediate future of the project, the RTA said a community telephone survey would begin this month.
The survey will be carried out by Jetty Research, an independent market research company based in Coffs Harbour.
“The survey will question about 500 randomly selected residents of the Clarence Valley,” an RTA spokesperson said.
“The issues and themes in an earlier postal survey summary will be used by the market research company to develop the telephone survey.”
Bacon St resident Bob Cairns, who has been heavily involved in campaigning against a second crossing coming into the Grafton CBD, pointed out a great deal of the ground work was completed before Arup came on board.
“The traffic studies were done in December 2009, the 3D modelling of a second crossing and the community updates and meetings were all held in early 2010 before Arup were signed up,” Mr Cairns, who was also a consulting engineer, said.
“$4.6 million seems very rich to me.”