Identifying a preferred option
In February 2010, Roads and Maritime Services identified four preliminary options for an additional crossing of the Clarence River in the vicinity of the existing bridge.
In March 2010, Roads and Maritime Services held discussions with the community about the preliminary options. The community identified additional options and ideas both close to and separate from the existing bridge.
In April 2010, the then Minister for Transport and Roads met with some Grafton residents to discuss these investigations.
The Minister asked Roads and Maritime Services to review all issues raised by the community.
At its meeting in September 2010, Clarence Valley Council agreed to request Roads and Maritime Services to survey the people of Grafton and surrounds for their desire as to the position of the new bridge and, if necessary, expand the study area to include other areas for the placement of the bridge.
In December 2010, Roads and Maritime Services announced a revised community consultation process to identify a preferred location for an additional crossing. The December 2010 community update identified 13 preliminary route options which included the additional options previously suggested by the community following the March 2010 community discussions.
A postal survey between December 2010 and March 2011 inviting community comment received a further 28 crossing suggestions, bringing the total of suggested locations to 41.
At community forums in March 2011, Roads and Maritime Services advised the 41 suggested locations would be assessed for their feasibility, to identify those options that would be further considered and investigated.
Of the 41 suggestions, 25 feasible crossing locations have been identified within five strategic corridors. A summary of the feasibility assessment is included in the June 2011 community update and documented in the Feasibility Assessment Report (June 2011).
In January 2012, six options were short-listed (from the 25 preliminary options) for further engineering and environmental investigations. The short-listed options are as follows:
- E - Cowan Street, South Grafton to Villiers Street, Grafton
- A - New bridge parallel to and immediately upstream of the existing bridge connecting Bent Street, South Grafton and Fitzroy Street, Grafton
- C - Junction of Pacific Highway and Gwydir Highway, South Grafton to Pound Street, Grafton
- 11 - Existing Pacific Highway north of South Grafton to Fry Street, Grafton
- 14 - Existing Pacific Highway north of South Grafton to North Street, Grafton via Kirchner Street
- 15 - Existing Pacific Highway north of South Grafton to Summerland Way north of Grafton, via Kirchner Street.
The process undertaken to identify the six short-listed options is included in the Preliminary Route Options Report – Final (January 2012) and the January 2012 community update.
In September 2012, the report on the investigations on the six route options was released for community comment. The Route Options Development Report (September 2012) and the September 2012 community update are now available view or download on the project documents page.
In December 2012, the recommended preferred option was announced for community comment.
Community comment, the investigations undertaken, and the outcomes of a value management workshop helped input to the decision on the recommended preferred route option.
In April 2013, Roads and Maritime Services confirmed the recommended preferred option (Option C) as the preferred option. The Preferred Option and Submissions Report (April 2013) is now available.
A concept design was displayed for community comment in November 2013 prior to the display of the Environmental Impact Statement in August 2014 which also includes a revised concept design.
In December 2014 the project received planning approval.
Early work has now started to prepare for major construction to start in late 2016.