The construction of a new bridge across the Barrington River has taken another step with the release of the Review of Environmental Factors (REF) submissions report.
Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) has prepared a report that summarises the issues raised during the Review of Environmental Factors (REF) display period for the new Barrington Bridge on the Thunderbolts Way.
RMS received 152 submissions from the community and three from government agencies in response to the REF display of the report which was on display in March and April of this year.
The submissions report provides responses to each issue, details investigations carried out since finalisation of the REF, and identifies new or revised environmental management measures.
Among the submissions were concerns about the heritage significance of the existing bridge, an increase in road speed causing safety issues and environmental impacts from tree removal.
While no project changes have been made that require a preferred infrastructure report, and no revisions have been made to the environment management plan, some changes have been made to management measures of the Bat Management Plan.
The journey toward a new bridge began in 2012 when it was one of the bridges identified for replacement in the Roads and Maritime Timber Truss Bridge Conservation Strategy, which was developed in consultation with the Heritage Council of NSW.
Construction of a new bridge will improve road freight productivity, improve road safety for motorists and pedestrians, and ensure the traffic needs of the community in the Barrington, Gloucester and surrounding areas are met.
Member for Upper Hunter Michael Johnsen said all the community feedback will be considered as the planning process is finalised.
“The REF identified potential environmental impacts of building the new bridge and was carried out in consultation with a range of key stakeholders, including technical specialists,” Mr Johnsen said.
“Roads and Maritime will continue to work with the community and stakeholders during the construction phase to understand concerns and minimise potential impacts.”
Work will start in the coming months to relocate property boundaries and electrical utilities in preparation for major work.
According to Mr Johnsen, major work on the new Barrington Bridge is expected to start in February 2019.
The report is available at http://www.rms.nsw.gov.au/projects/hunter/barrington-bridge/index.html