Progress works on the Grafton Bridge.
Progress works on the Grafton Bridge. Adam Hourigan Photography

CHALLENGING: Finding the right base for new bridge

THE BUILDERS of the new Grafton Bridge have assured the local business community everything is on track for a mid-2019 completion date.

A delegation of RMS and Fulton Hogan engineers addressed yesterday's packed Grafton Chamber of Commerce breakfast meeting to upupdate them on bridge progress.

Chamber stalwart and long-time agitator for the bridge, Des Harvey, said engineers told the meeting they had overcome some problems with finding a solid base for the pylons, which had necessitated some design changes.

"The engineers said there had been some challenges because of the need to put bridge piles onto a solid rock base," Mr Harvey said.

"Because they were worried about the inadequate substrate they've had to re-engineer the pylons to make the bridge piles a little wider."

Mr Harvey said the meeting was assured these were the normal types of challenges projects of this magnitude threw up for the builders.

Mr Harvey said the RMS and Fulton Hogan had been working with businesses on both sides of the river affected by the bridge construction.

"They established two liaison groups to work with businesses on the northern and southern sides of the river," he said.

"They've worked closely with business in Villiers and Pound streets to ensure minimum disruption to their business.

"On the south side, they've dealt with issues of water ponding in Iolanthe St by installing bigger pumps."

Mr Harvey said it was an exciting prospect to think that in a little more than 12 months he could be driving across the new Grafton Bridge.

"It's been something I've been working towards for many years," he said.