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More questions than answers with the proposed BBay Bridge

Letter to Beagle Editor,

Batemans Bay Bridge Replacement Design

The question that should be raised regarding the new bridge is not if it goes east or west of the current bridge but what bridge designs were considered. It appears only three similar designs were looked at: Concrete Haunched Girder or Concrete Box Girder and Concrete T Girder. These are all low cost designs using girders on piers launched or placed from an earth on-ramp in our case right at the river banks.

Why were the Steel Arch or Cable Stayed designs not considered? These designs would look good, meet the height above water criteria, utilise the adjacent river bank more effectively and could create an elegant on-ramp approach.

Why did the design engineer only look at the three options and why did the Community Consultation only talk about the two selected by the project team?

To get into the detail the Steel Arch would easily address the height above water required to maintain Nelligen as a port and let the current vessels traverse the Clyde. The steel could come from the local Wollongong steel mill and promote local jobs. The on-ramp on the north would be on the level and soil based while the southern side would be on elegant piles above the river bank and give road, pedestrian and bike access to both sides of the highway. It would raise gradually from the current Bowling Club. The number of piles on the river bed would be reduced thus reducing the flood damage potential, construction impediments to river traffic and environmental impact. There would be no large slab concrete retaining walls proposed with the current design right next to the shopping precinct.

Above: The Gladesville Bridge superimposed over the Batemans Bay Bridge as one example

The community should focus on the design of the bridge and not be distracted by curved blue lines on a map and the results of some contrived, unrepresentative, secretive Value Management Workshop outcomes. The limits set in this discussion would by definition give the result the Aurecon Project Team expected/predicted. The data provided to the two community representatives was skewed, unsubstantiated and therefore worthless. And the traffic modelling had not yet been completed.

So don't let us put too much weight on this event and the outcomes. We should concentrate on what was not included in the “preferred route option report” and start to ask the real question like:

What bridge design should be selected (arch or girder)?

Why was a Steel Arch design excluded?

Why do we require a four lane bride (the new Burrill Lake bridge is only two lanes)?

What will happen to the Kings Highway intersection traffic flows?

Why is 2019 such an important milestone?

Where is the artist’s impression of this concrete girder bridge across our beautiful river and Bay?

What will happen to the two boat ramps during and after construction?

What justification is there to lower the current water height (23m) clearance to only 12 -14 meters?

The claim that the current bridge maintenance cost is up to $1mil per year could not be validated by the project team at the information night,...(we will get back to you). The high recent cost is to fix and catch up on the lack of past maintenance. We have been reassured that is currently operational and will be for a number of years.

So why this current rush to push onto the local community a low cost, low slung, grey concrete monstrosity?

Lets focus on fixing the Kings Highway intersection traffic flows with slip roads north and south, direct north south lanes and intelligent traffic lights and information boards as far south as the entry into the town.

Harry Watson Smith Malua Bay

#Opinion #BatemansBay