Bridge project waiting study

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The East River Road bridge project has been delayed until a traffic management study of the area is complete.

The move comes after the Save East River Forest group gathered more than 250 local signatures, all from people opposed to the Shire’s decision to build a second bridge over Denmark River. Hundreds of residents have since gathered at a special electors’ meeting and proposed project recommendations to the council.

Denmark councillors have acknowledged the progress made towards completing the traffic management study and have essentially suspend the project until the traffic management study is complete.

But the council decided it was premature to agree to the electors’ request to return the Royalties for Regions funding allocated to the project. Shire chief executive Bill Parker said adopting this position would limit the council’s options in the future.

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SERF administrator Lydia Kenyon said objections surrounding the contentious East River Road bridge project had been duly expressed and noted.

“It is appropriate that council’s final resolution regarding the fate of the project should only progress after these reports have been returned,” she said. “It is a very sorry state of affairs that applications for grants can be made without proper preceding process.”

A Denmark traffic and emergency management study is being undertaken by GHD and its completion is expected by June 30.

Mr Parker said the study would consider alternative locations for a crossing point of the Denmark River and also assess the benefits of a new bridge in the vicinity of East River Road.

Ms Kenyon said Denmark River and its shoreline formed a very precious corridor of both cultural and environmental significance.

“Any road bridge crossing will have a large and destructive footprint,” she said.

“The justification and the concept planning for this project must be duly diligent.”

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