‘10-minute city’ needs to plan South bridge
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.