‘10-minute city’ needs to plan South bridge

Dubbo Photo News - - News - By YVETTE AUBUSSON-FO­LEY

DUBBO’S mayor says a new bridge to the south of the cur­rent Dubbo bridges should be part of a strat­egy to make sure Dubbo re­mains “a 10-minute city”.

Ear­lier this month, Mem­ber for Dubbo Du­gald Saun­ders raised hopes of a bridge to the south of the L.H. Ford Bridge by of­fer­ing coun­cil $100,000 to con­duct a fea­si­bil­ity study.

“We want to en­sure we are work­ing with the com­mu­nity to build in­fra­struc­ture to sup­port Dubbo’s growth,” he said in a state­ment at the time.

A South Dubbo bridge has been touted on and off for years. Dubbo Re­gional Coun­cil mayor Ben Shields pointed to the 2009 Coun­cil-com­mis­sioned Sta­ple­ton Re­port which found a need for a low-level bridge south of the L.H. Ford Bridge to help with dis­tri­bu­tion of traf­fic from West Dubbo across the Mac­quarie River. He’s keen to get crack­ing with the study.

“We would be look­ing to con­duct the re­search as fast as pos­si­ble. I hope this is a sign the (state) govern­ment has re­alised that the River Street bridge doesn’t help with con­ges­tion, and there is a need to al­le­vi­ate those traf­fic prob­lems,” he said.

‘Stop the River Street Bridge Dubbo – Troy Bridge by­pass now, not 2040’ co­or­di­na­tor Ka­rina Mclach­lain be­lieves Mr Saun­ders’ an­nounce­ment cre­ates con­fu­sion amongst the Dubbo pub­lic, and she says that was his aim.

“What we re­ally need is what John Bar­i­laro sug­gested to me at the Bush Sum­mit and that is a study to com­pare the benefits of River St with a high-level bridge at Troy Bridge Road. We need a high-level bridge at Troy and a lo­cal bridge south of the L.H. Ford, and we need to scrap the River St Bridge al­to­gether,” she said.

Mayor Shields sug­gests a bridge to the south would be a con­tin­u­a­tion of Mi­nore Road in West Dubbo, cross­ing the river be­fore link­ing up with Bligh Street or Mac­quarie Street and steer­ing traf­fic back to Co­bra Street.

“It is im­por­tant this traf­fic isn’t sent straight into South Dubbo,” he said.

Coun­cil­lor Vicki Etheridge is adamant any bridge in the south does not im­pact on live­abil­ity for South Dubbo res­i­dents.

“I gave an un­der­tak­ing to the peo­ple of South Dubbo that I would staunchly de­fend them against any in­ap­pro­pri­ate de­vel­op­ment in South Dubbo and I plan on keep­ing that prom­ise.

“It wouldn’t be ap­pro­pri­ate to take (the in­creased traf­fic) through leafy South Dubbo. Peo­ple didn’t buy their houses there to have a high­way go­ing past their front gate,” she said.

Ul­ti­mately, Mayor Shields ac­knowl­edges con­ges­tion at the in­ter­sec­tion of Why­lan­dra and Vic­to­ria streets is a ma­jor headache for res­i­dents of West Dubbo.

“Per­son­ally, I would like to see con­struc­tion of such a bridge be­gin be­fore or at the same time as the pro­posed high-level bridge. I think it is crit­i­cal to Dubbo that it re­main a 10-minute city,” Cr Shields said.

Mr Saun­ders has de­scribed the $100,000 as build­ing on the NSW Govern­ment’s $195 mil­lion Build­ing a Bet­ter Dubbo (BBD) pro­gram of works.

Those projects in­clude the $140 mil­lion River Street bridge, traf­fic light in­stal­la­tions and ap­proach up­grades to Co­bra/fitzroy and Why­lan­dra/vic­to­ria Streets in­ter­sec­tions ($34 mil­lion), a 1.4-kilometre up­grade of the high­way be­tween Golf Links Creek and just past East Street ($12 mil­lion), and L.H. Ford Bridge strength­en­ing ($10 mil­lion).

“He is not of­fer­ing to build a bridge in the south in­stead of the River St bridge, just di­vert at­ten­tion. He is not ac­tu­ally promis­ing to build that bridge and there is no money al­lo­cated to do so,” Ms Mclach­lain said.

Mem­ber for Dubbo Du­gald Saun­ders has raised the is­sue of a south­ern bridge for Dubbo with Min­is­ter for Re­gional Trans­port and Roads Paul Toole, both pictured here (fourth and sixth from left re­spec­tively) with Trans­port for NSW staff in Dubbo re­cently. PHOTO: SUP­PLIED.

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