As a construction date for the inland rail project nears, the future of the Kemp Street bridge, Olympic Highway underpass, and the Junee station footbridge have once again been called into question.
Representatives of the Australian Rail Track Corporation fronted councillors on Monday evening to discuss several recent community consultations. Kemp Street was of most concern in the community, with more than 300 residents airing their concerns.
“The most frequent concern we heard about that site was around the already existing traffic there at the intersection of Railway Lane,” said ARTC spokesperson Sarah Joseph.
“A lot of residents explained to us that it’s already a really dangerous intersection, with poor visibility coming down off Kemp Street bridge. There’s potential there to make an already dangerous intersection even more so.”
The problem of pedestrian and traffic access through the area will also need to be addressed, once construction on the bridge begins.
But it is especially an issue for emergency services. If the Kemp Street bridge is out of action, the only option to access parts of the town will be via the railway crossing, which is often blocked by long freighters.
“We will try to minimise impact on road closures, so we will work offline and only do road closures when there are suitable times,” said Mr Batra.
The next phase of the project will begin in February, by which time the final designs will be reached.
Councillor David Carter expressed his concerns solutions may overlook the needs of the town and its industries as it grows in the future.
“At the moment, [large vehicles] probably don’t prefer to use Kemp Street because it’s very narrow and no-one can actually find out what weight restriction is on it. Whatever happens to that bridge, it has to accommodate at least a b-double comfortably to get them off the main intersection.”