TIMELINE: Journey to new Grafton bridge
Due to increasing traffic on the Gwydir Highway from the Tablelands, Copmanhurst and Casino roads, a new bridge across Susan Island near Mary Street is proposed.
The plan aims to protect Grafton from flood and enable the conversion of the present Cowan creek area into flood-free residential blocks.
After discussions about locations, Mavis McClymont stresses that the building of a bridge adjacent to the existing one will be unstable as it would create a bottleneck in Bent Street.
Council meets with the Department of Main Roads regarding the site of a new bridge upstream of the existing one and joining at Bent/Fitzroy Streets. Five alternatives are proposed including near Seelands and some distance downstream of the bridge.
A year later, a detailed report about the advantages and disadvantages of the Pound and Iolanthe Streets by a city engineer and town planner is presented.
The Daily Examiner reports that plans to build a new bridge are approved, with the new bridge to connect Bent St, South Grafton with Fitzroy St, Grafton.
Despite the Department of Main Roads undertaking surveys and geotechnical investigations, the new bridge is shelved as a long-range proposal.
Grafton Chamber of Commerce and Industry established a subcommittee to take up the campaign for a new bridge. Members meet with various politicians including Member for Page Ian Causley and Member or Clarence Harry Woods to seek financial support.
Grafton City Council elevates the new Grafton Bridge to number one priority on its Management Plan for 2002/2003 and supports the Chamber of Commerce in its campaign for a new bridge.
The Summerland Way Progress Committee is addressed by Ron Bell and votes to support the construction of a new bridge. MLC Brian Pezzutti and National Party Leader George Souris also offer their support for the campaign.
Several councils, including Richmond Valley, Maclean Shire, Copmanhurst Shire and Pristine Waters vote to support the new bridge.
A feasibility study is conducted by the Roads and Traffic Authority, which leads to then NSW Premier Bob Carr declaring an "iron-clad guarantee" to the construction of the new bridge.
"It is seriously needed," Mr Carr said at the time, but in two short years Mr Carr had been replaced as Premier by Morris Iemma, and the project was again shelved.
The new bridge is given a "green light" from the RTA when a 113-page RTA document, which includes extensive modelling of local traffic conditions over the next 30 years, concluded that taking no action on a second bridge is not an option.
"The conclusions of the modelling exercise are that doing nothing is not an option as it will lead to extended periods across the day where the existing bridge operates at or beyond saturation levels, with unacceptable vehicle delays and queuing," the report's executive summary reads.
"It's pleasing to see the project back on the RTA radar," Clarence Valley Mayor Richie Williamson said at the time.
The first sod is turned at the new Grafton bridge site, marking the start of early works including the widening of the Gwydir Highway between the Pacific Highway and Bent Street, South Grafton as the road goes from two lanes to four.
Questions are raised about the likelihood of the new bridge being completed by 2020 after a presentation by Roads and Maritime Services project services manager Damien Sartori identifies several things that had to be carried out before a solid timeline for the construction of the 10-span bridge could be given.
Clarence MP Chris Gulaptis announces Fulton Hogan as the preferred tenderer to design and build the long-awaited new Grafton bridge.
Fulton Hogan project director Mark Stevenson gives a breakdown of the construction process while presenting at the Grafton Chamber of Commerce breakfast.
Fig trees along Pound Street were cleared in preparation for the expansion of the street for the new bridge.
A huge barge spanning close to 50 metres in length enters the Clarence River in anticipation of construction of the new Grafton bridge.
According to a Roads and Maritime Services spokesman, the barge Maeve Anne, made a four- day trip from Sydney ahead of an extensive project specific fit out at Harwood Marine.
The arrival of a 275 tonne, 57m tall yellow crane on site on the southern bank of the Clarence River becomes the latest sign of progress toward the construction of the new Grafton bridge.
A 48m barge arrives in Grafton for the next phase of construction on the new bridge. Nicknamed 'The Maeve Anne' the barge is used for the installation of bridge foundations, building the bridge piers and installing bridge superstructure segments.
Work on one side of the Clarence River on the new Grafton Bridge is temporarily suspended for three weeks due to geotechnical investigations being carried out.
READ MORE: OUR SAY: Good bridge but could be better
The first concrete is poured for the new Grafton bridge marine piles. The pour took about six hours to carry out and use around 160 cubic metres of concrete.
The road between Pound and Fitzroy streets are closed permanently as work progresses on new Grafton bridge.
Clarence Valley residents are invited to attend a community information session about the New Grafton Bridge project. The first pier skirt is placed over the piles on the new Grafton Bridge.
Fulton Hogan NSW operations manager and project director Richard Petaccia reveals how the new Grafton bridge will come together.
More than 100 of the 176 precast segments required for the bridge have been made and are ready to be moved into place in the coming weeks.
Pairs of concrete that will connect the bridge together are added to pier three, the second pier in the water off the southern bank.
A new access road linking the South Grafton business precinct on Iolanthe St to the Pacific Highway opens to traffic.
The first set of traffic lights in the Clarence Valley at the corner of Clarence and Pound streets are completed, ready to be switched on when the project is finished.
The rail bridge at Pound st was replaced in a three-day window as part of the new Grafton bridge project, with the new span allowing a five metre clearance for trucks.
The final precast segment of the new Grafton bridge was lifted into place, signalling the final stages of construction.
Work started to improve the roundabout at the intersection of Villiers and Pound streets, including replacing sections of the roundabout and widening the road.
The bridge is on track to open at the end of the year, with asphalting, commissioning the pump station and traffic lights, installing noise wall panels and street lighting and river navigation lighting among the final pieces to complete in the next couple of months.
As part of the new Grafton bridge project, a proposed directional signage plan has been developed for the project. This plan is now on display for the public to view and provide feedback by Friday, November 8, 2019.
The community are invited to walk across the bridge before it is opened to traffic.
After decades of lobbying, planning and then building, the new Grafton bridge opens to traffic.