These works will widen the road and involve underground service relocation and unfortunately the loss of many established Crepe Myrtle trees lining March Street. The commencement of works has caused some understandable concern in the community.
I share your concerns about the loss of these lovely, established flowering trees, and a related concern about the project threatening a large Plane tree at the intersection of March St and Chapel St which forms part of a significant avenue of heritage trees along Chapel Street (where I used to live). It’s a beautiful part of Richmond and the Crepe Myrtles are absolutely stunning when they are in bloom.
Also, these upgrades are part of a series of upgrades between North Richmond and Richmond that will ease long-standing traffic flow issues until a more permanent fix in the form of a new crossing of the Hawkesbury River is built.
So here’s what we know about what can be done. The 2016 RMS report acknowledges the significance of these trees and they undertake to replace them “where appropriate” after the road is widened and the footpath replaced:
In terms of the Plane tree on the corner of Chapel St, Council and RMS representatives held a site visit recently to discuss alternative options to save the tree.
I’ve made it clear that these trees have value to the community and amenity of Richmond, and that they need to be replaced with mature specimens, not seedlings, if at all possible. Our Council staff will continue to press that point to the project managers, RMS / TfNSW.
If you care for these trees, I would encourage you to make your concerns known by contacting the RMS’s project contact managers, DownerMouchel on: Phone: 1800 332 660, or Email: NSW_projects@dmroads.com.au
Amplifying the current bridge to three lanes and employing a contraflow arrangement morning and evening.
Constructing a new two-lane bridge immediately downstream to provide an extra two lanes, either at the same level as the current bridge, or somewhat further downstream and at a higher level to provide 1:20yr flood immunity.
Each of these options would ultimately increase traffic through both Richmond and North Richmond and would require substantial amplification to roadworks between the Bosworth St intersection in Richmond, and the Grose Vale Road intersection in North Richmond.
“(It’s) another empty promise that may never eventuate. Heavy peak traffic on Grose Vale Road, Terrace Road and Bells Line of Road leading down towards the M7 causes significant congestion around the Richmond bridge. It takes sometimes more than an hour for people, once they reach North Richmond, to cross the bridge to Richmond on the way to work, and the same can happen in the evening.”
The provision of safer, more efficient roads to regional Australia is a priority of this government. One such issue needing to be addressed was the Richmond Bridge … This bridge has experienced significant increased traffic pressure over recent years. Labor failed to deliver on this committed project, but I have fought to see Richmond and North Richmond receive the approved infrastructure that the community deserves.
For several years, planning by the federal government and the New South Wales coalition government has been underway to cater for increased traffic around the Richmond Bridge. The city-centric previous Labor government short-changed regional Australia by cutting $500 million in regional funding. I am pleased to acknowledge the coalition government has committed $18 million of total funding for the Richmond Bridge and its approaches from 2013-14 through to 2018-19.
Meanwhile, the State Liberal Government got on with the job of using these funds to improve a range of issues affecting traffic flow along Bells Line of Road, with this graphic from an October 2018 RMS newsletter showing the works around the intersection, but which does not show extensive improvements at the intersection of Old Kurrajong Rd / Yarramundi Lane.
By the 2018 State Budget, our local MP and State Treasurer Dominic Perrottet was able to pledge$25 million dollars of State money to do detailed planning for a new river crossing ($7m of which was in the 2018-2019 FY). This is what proper collaboration between State and Federal governments looks like.
I am agnostic on the question of whether the bridge should be a straight duplication of the current bridge, or should be located elsewhere. I’m wary of increasing congestion in North Richmond and Richmond. Council is in the process of finalising a detailed Regional Traffic Study. The process of choosing a site for the bridge and the support roads that will lead to it should be data-driven, as well as acutely mindful of the effects on our heritage towns.
Against this backdrop, the only missing piece, and by far the largest one, was funding for the bridge itself. And it’s arrived.
When the announcement was made yesterday, you should realise it has come off the back of a decade of advocacy from Liberal representatives — Local, State and Federal, as well as a lot of dedicated members of the community.
These kinds of infrastructure projects are possible when governments balance their budgets and grow the economy. No one argues that they are necessary, but it takes years of planning.
So how did Labor react, after years of neglect on infrastructure? They fell over themselves to say they would match the funding.
It’s galling to see this portrayed as some kind of Labor funding announcement, or something that has come as the result of Labor’s careful planning for infrastructure and thrift. It’s not. And I’ll bet that the $200 million dollar commitment is as unfunded and ephemeral as other announcements they have made over the years. Under the last Labor government in NSW, they had six transport ministers, nine transport plans, announced a dozen new railway lines and delivered just one — the Airport line — the contract for which was inked under the previous Liberal administration.
Susan Templeman, and Labor generally, deserve no credit for this fantastic announcement. This has come off the back of Liberal advocacy, and Liberal budgetary management. $200 million dollars doesn’t fall out of the air, and saying “me too” in its wake with no sign it was ever costed by Labor doesn’t represent leadership.