Official sod turning for early works on Second Grafton Bridge
Minister for Roads and Freight and Minister for the North Coast Duncan Gay today joined Clarence MP Chris Gulaptis to officially turn the first sod to mark the start of early works on the construction of a second crossing over the Clarence River at Grafton.
Mr Gay said this was a great day for Grafton and the surrounding communities of the Clarence Valley, who have waited many years for this upgrade.
“For 16 years NSW Labor stubbornly refused to build the second crossing of the Clarence River at Grafton – it has taken a NSW Liberals & Nationals Government to get this project funded and underway,” Mr Gay said.
“$177 million from existing Restart NSW funds will now fast track construction of the crossing.
Minister Gay said the existing two-lane bridge can no longer adequately cope with increased traffic volumes between Grafton and South Grafton.
“The people of Grafton and the surrounding areas should not forget that for 16 years the former Labor Government didn’t spend a cent on construction for the much needed second crossing of the Clarence River,” Mr Gay said.
“Work to widen the Gwydir Highway in South Grafton, which is underway, is the first step in delivering the second crossing over the Clarence River. Already we have shovels in the ground for early work to existing traffic issues at the intersection of the Gwydir and Pacific highways.
“A 200-metre stretch of the Gwydir Highway between the roundabout at Bent Street and the Pacific Highway will be widened from two to four lanes, which will deliver immediate traffic benefits.”
Mr Gulaptis said this was an historic day for the Grafton community, for many who thought they would never see a second bridge built.
“Almost four years ago I stood here and said the Liberals & Nationals Government would deliver the second bridge at Grafton – and here we are today delivering what we said we would,” Mr Gulaptis said.
“I am so proud the Liberals & Nationals are delivering for the community of Grafton and the start of works means the bridge will open to traffic in 2019.”
Long time campaigner for the second Grafton Bridge and Board member of the Grafton Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Des Harvey said he wasdelighted to see work finally start on the second crossing.