Paul Toole and Chris Gulaptis inside the new Grafton Bridge.
Paul Toole and Chris Gulaptis inside the new Grafton Bridge.

Inside Grafton’s cross-Clarence tunnel

IT’S a safe bet everyone knows about the new Grafton bridge but have you heard about the new Grafton tunnel?

In a special treat for a select few, Roads and Maritime Services senior project manager Greg Nash opened the secret door, into the secret tunnel, inside the not-so-secret bridge yesterday.

The tunnel runs inside the 176 segments throughout the length of the bridge, housing conduit for Essential Energy as well as fibre-optic cabling.

Those telecommunications services had been previously been housed underground and the complex task of relocating them involved more than 5km of copper and fibre optic cable.

Mr Nash said it would be rare for anyone to enter the tunnel and it would only be used for maintenance access as it had been “built to last 100 years”.

Clarence MP Chris Gulaptis and Minister for Regional Roads Paul Toole were in awe at the engineering feat, which was only amplified by being inside the bridge.

“It is a complex construction and you don’t get to realise the complexity until you are actually inside it and have it explained to you,” Mr Gulaptis said.

“It is a real engineering masterpiece.”

Mr Toole said the project had made a real difference to the community and it was a remarkable feat of engineering.

“I don’t think many people will ever get the opportunity to go in underneath a bridge and you really appreciate the engineering, the craftsmanship and the design in a bridge like this,” Mr Toole said.