Council leaves three low level bridges options for Cowra on the table

Lively debate on a new low level crossing of the Lachlan River in Cowra preceded Cowra Shire Council leaving three options on the table at its meetings this week.

“This is a really important decision for this council, probably the most important decision we’ll make this term,” Cr Bruce Miller said during the debate.

Councillors ultimately left three new crossing options open to debate.

The current low level bridge remains open to pedestrian and cycle traffic under all of the proposals.

The first of these options, referred to as Option 2, provides a link from Redfern Street to Lachlan Valley Way, combined with an extension of Liverpool Street.

A second option, Option 2A, provides a crossing of the Lachlan River as per option 2 and connects to Lachlan Valley Way via a road underneath the existing RMS bridge.

The third option still being considered, Option 4, would see construction of a new bridge immediately south of the existing RMS bridge. 

Councillors eventually voted for the three to be left open for debate and investigation after receiving a recommendation from staff for just Option 2A to remain.

Supporting leaving just Option 2A on the table Cr Ray Walsh said “we need to be looking at the traffic problems we have at the foot of the bridge.

“That’s why I support the take off near Redfern Street. A bridge there is still open unless there is a major flood.

“It’s also important we give certainty, and this is why I don’t support Option 2, as it is listed as coming across the tennis courts.

“That’s not a good idea and where it meets the highway at the foot of the bridge will create more traffic problems,” Cr Walsh said.

Staff had reported to Council that Option 2 has significant impacts on the existing tennis facility and will require extensive consultation and negotiation if it is to be considered further.

An amendment from Cr Bruce Miller that Council leave Option 2 and 2A on the table for further investigation, was defeated during the meeting.

A further amendment from Cr Michael Nobes that Option 2, 2A and 4 all remain on the table was successful.

Both Cr Nobes and Miller were in agreement with much of what Cr Walsh had expressed but said a lack of detail meant council should not be locking itself into a single option.

“At the moment I don’t think we have enough detail to do that,” Cr Miller said.

OPTION 2

The road design associated with option 2 includes a link road between Liverpool Street and Redfern Street with a new intersection located on Redfern Street. The road carriageway then runs across the bridge and through the undeveloped land along the west bank of the river. The road will run through the existing tennis centre and connect into Grenfell Road at the intersection of Lachlan Valley Way. 

It also includes a 90m bridge span and a link road along the west bank of the river from the bridge to Grenfell Road at the Lachlan Valley Way intersection.

This results in 615m of new road carriageway.

This option has been costed at $6.0 million.

To align with the Lachlan Valley Way intersection, the road will run through the existing tennis courts. It is likely that these will either need to be rearranged in the current location or relocated should this option be selected. Relocation of the tennis courts will i ncur significant expense and will require extensi ve consultation with stakeholders.

Option 2 is proposed to be 7m higher than the current bridge which will decrease the frequency in which it will be impacted by the flooding of the Lachlan River.

The bridge will not however be immune to flooding and the crossing will be impassable on occasion.

OPTION 2a

Option 2A crosses the river in an identical manner to Option 02. The approach works on the east bank of the river are also identical. The approach works along the west bank have been altered from Option 02 to avoid impacting on the tennis courts. 

This option also has a 90m bridge span and a link road along the west bank of the river from the bridge to Lachlan Valley Way south of the Grenfell Road intersection.

This results in 800m of new road carriageway.

This option has been costed at $5.6 million.

Option 2A is proposed to be 7m higher than the current bridge which will decrease the frequency in which it will be impacted by the flooding of the Lachlan River. The bridge will not however be immune to flooding and the crossing will be impassable on occasion.

Due to the increased scope of works associated with approach works in this option there is significant risk of cost impact associated with utility relocation works. Dial Before You Dig information indicates that there is likely to be several utilities which need to be relocated at the two proposed intersections.

Option 04

This alternative provides a replacement of the existing Low Level Bridge in a similar location to the existing, such that approach works can be minimised, but with the advantage that the existing low level bridge can remain open during construction of the new bridge. This could be achieved by constructing a new bridge immediately to the south of the existing high level bridge. This solution also does not address concerns of traffic at the Redfern Street / Lachlan Street / Kendal Street intersection.  

It includes a new link road between two sections of the existing local access road south of the RMS bridge and will include a 110m bridge span.

Option 04 has the longest bridge span meaning that the bridge cost for this option is the highest.

This is offset however by the reduced cost associated with approach roadworks. The approach roadworks will include 260m of approach roadworks. This option has been costed as $5.6 million.

Option 04 is proposed to be located 5.75m higher than the existing bridge crossing, this will decrease the frequency in which it will be impacted by the flooding of the Lachlan River.

The bridge will not however be immune to flooding and the crossing will be impassable on occasion.