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Work stopped at the Romiaka Channel Bridge over a month ago; however, no one will reveal what is happening behind the scenes. Image: Geoff Helisma

No talking about unfinished bridge

Geoff Helisma |

More than a month has passed since work ceased on the new Romiaka Channel Bridge, but no one is willing to talk about the partially fenced building site.

The Independent contacted Clarence Valley Council (CVC), the contractor, Delaney Civil, and the project manager, the NSW Government’s Public Works Advisory (PWA), which states it “supports local and state government agencies to deliver critical infrastructure initiatives by providing expert advisory, planning, delivery and support services”.

The Independent pointed out to each entity that the pedestrian/cycleway is unfinished and that the rocks dumped into the channel during the bridge’s construction may not comply with the project’s Review of Environmental Factors (REF), which states that “the waterway area under the new structure shall be at least equal to that under the existing structure”.

Previously, when asked about the REF, CVC advised: “You’ll need to speak with the contractors on how they are going to remove the gravel and rocks, etcetera.

“We tell them what they need to do, but not how to do it.”

At the November 2018 CVC meeting, amid a dispute with Delaney Civil, councillors decided in a closed session to “receive the report on the Romiaka Channel Bridge replacement”.

The confidential report discussed “additional project management costs, liquidated damages and contractors variation claims”.

Councillors also resolved to pay PWA an undisclosed amount of fees, in addition to $229,451 (ex GST), associated with the increased delivery timeframe of the bridge”; and delegated “authority to the general manager to negotiate an outcome on the contractor’s claims with a view to minimise the cost to council”.

However, CVC’s works and civil director, Troy Anderson, would only say that “the works are ongoing and council is working with the contractor to have the remaining works completed as soon as possible”.

When asked at the recent Yamba Road roundabouts funding announcement, if a report on the matter would be tabled at the February CVC meeting, Mr Anderson said: “No.”

A PWA spokesperson said PWA would not comment and that the Independent would have to talk to CVC “because PWA was managing the project on behalf of CVC”.

After making several calls to Delaney Civil, a project manager (who said he was unable to comment) said he would pass a message on to the Romiaka bridge project’s manager – no response had been received before the paper’s editorial deadline

Mayor Jim Simmons said that Delaney Civil is “still at loggerheads” with CVC.

“Council is in discussions with them, but that is the situation,” he said, pointing out that councillors had taken legal advice on the matter.

“I’m sure my fellow councillors have the same concerns,” he said.

The Australian and NSW governments each contributed $1.73million towards the estimated $3,901,736 project, including a 10 per cent contingency of $293,844.

Not including the undisclosed extra payments, CVC contributed $439,736.