Emma Pritchard |
Some swore they would never see it in their lifetime while others claimed future generations would still be waiting for it to be built.
That was fifty years ago, but fast forward to 2020 and the second river crossing in Grafton has celebrated it’s first full year servicing the community and visiting commuters.
While its official name is yet to be revealed, it has earned many nicknames during its short life.
Some people have dubbed it the better-late-than-never bridge, others simply refer to it as the second or new Grafton bridge, while a small handful of locals call it the Grafton 2.0 bridge and the un-bendy bridge.
Regardless of what it is presently called, the community has utilised the much longed for second crossing over the Clarence River.
A $240 million project funded by the NSW Government, the new Grafton bridge is 525 metres long and is made up of 176 precast concrete segments with a shared pathway for pedestrians and cyclists.
On December 8, 2019, locals were invited to walk across the new bridge before it was officially opened to traffic four days later.
Although she wasn’t born until 1992, many years after a second river crossing in Grafton was first spoken of, Clarence Valley resident Yolanda Blackstein was proud to walk across the new bridge when it first opened and could remember her grandparents telling her how they dreamed of seeing a second bridge in the Jacaranda City when they lived here in the 1960’s.
“I think they’d be happy that Grafton finally got another bridge, but I’m sad they didn’t live to see it,” she said.
Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis said the second Grafton bridge has been embraced by the community and has done its job better than anyone expected.
“It has totally relieved the previous traffic congestion we were subjected to for years,” he said.
“It’s given visitors a very different perspective of Grafton as they come across it for the first time and it’s provided a wonderful exercise route for walkers and pedestrians.”
Following community consultation via online submission, Transport NSW and Clarence Valley Council are currently working together to decide the official name for the new Grafton bridge.