EXPLAINED: The new $185 million Grafton bridge
HERE is a breakdown of the new $185 million Grafton bridge, how construction will unfold and why the new Clarence River crossing is needed.
The project involves:
- Building a road bridge across the Clarence River about 70 metres downstream of the existing road and rail bridge
- Upgrading parts of the road network in Grafton and South Grafton to connect the new bridge to the existing road network
- Replacing part of the rail viaduct where it crosses Pound Street in Grafton
- Providing a pedestrian and cycle path and signalised pedestrian crossings.
What will happen to the existing bridge?
- The existing road and rail bridge will be retained with one northbound lane and one southbound lane.
Who will use the new Grafton bridge?
- In operation, the new road bridge and approaches would become part of the Summerland Way. B-doubles and semi-trailers would be required to use the new bridge. Buses, emergency vehicles and smaller heavy vehicles would be able to use either bridge.
What changes will take place to Grafton streets?
- Upgrades to parts of the road network in Grafton and South Grafton to connect the new bridge to the existing road network, including:
- Widening Iolanthe Street to four lanes
- Widening the Gwydir Highway to four lanes between Bent Street and the Pacific Highway
- Realigning the existing Pacific Highway to join Iolanthe Street near Through Street
- Providing a new roundabout at the intersection of the Pacific Highway and Gwydir Highway
- Providing a new roundabout at the intersection of Through Street and Iolanthe Street
- Limiting Spring Street and the Old Pacific Highway to left in and left out only where they meet Iolanthe Street
- Realigning Butters Lane
- Widening Pound Street to four lanes between Villiers Street and the approach to the new bridge
- Providing traffic signals at the intersection of Pound Street and Clarence Street
- Closing Kent Street where it is crossed by the bridge approach road
- Realigning and lowering Greaves Street beneath the new bridge o Realigning Bridge Street to join directly to the southern part of Pound Street (east of the new bridge approach). There would be no direct connection between Pound Street south and the new bridge approach
- Widening Clarence Street to provide formal car park spaces
- Minor modifications to the existing Dobie Street and Villiers Street roundabout.
- The existing rail viaduct section across Pound Street would be replaced with a new bridge structure to provide sufficient vertical clearance for the upgrade of Pound Street
- Construction of a pedestrian and cycle path and signalised pedestrian crossings for access to and across the new bridge and throughout Grafton and South Grafton
- Flood mitigation works, which includes raising the height of sections of the existing levee upstream of the existing bridge in Grafton and South Grafton Additional crossing of the Clarence River at Grafton Submissions Report 2
- Ancillary works such as public utility adjustments, construction compounds and stockpile areas and water management measures
Why does Grafton need a new bridge?
The project is needed to address short-term and long-term transport needs within Grafton and South Grafton. The primary drivers of the project are to:
- Relieve current and future traffic congestion across the existing bridge
- Provide greater accessibility (measured in terms of travel time and reliability) for the journey to work, other private travel, freight and commercial activities
- Enhance road safety for all road users over the length of the project.