FAR Northern residents are being asked to weigh in on potential options for the Barron River bridge in Kuranda that has been under the microscope for the last few years.
The Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) is conducting a $8.98 million planning project to determine the best long-term solution for the bridge and has identified two potential options.
According to TMR, these options will allegedly accommodate future capacity needs, enhance safety for pedestrians, bike riders and mobility device users, facilitate heavy vehicle access, and minimise environmental impacts.
TMR has published artists impression of the two options on the consultation website and is seeking feedback from the community and road users to inform the planning study.
Barron River MP Craig Crawford said the bridge a “lifeline” of connectivity between Cairns and the Tablelands.
“It is a hot button issue for residents in Kuranda and Speewah and everyone who travels up to the Tablelands and back,” he said.
“What I like is both options include a cycling and pedestrian pathway. That has been a significant issue with the current bridge. Trying to cross the bridge on foot or bike with trucks roaring by is terrifying.
“I’ve been working with Main Roads on this for a long time. My goal is to make sure there is always an operational bridge spanning that river.”
The bridge has undergone sporadic remediation works since its ageing structure was revealed and motorists have been hindered by one-lane closures further extending the travel time between the two centres and having massive impacts on the region’s horticultural transport.
Consultation for the designs closes on 8 December 2023 with the planning study expected for completion in late 2024 however the detailed design and construction of the options are currently unfunded.
For those without internet access, a copy of the artist’s impressions can be obtained by contacting the TMR Cairns office via 4045 7144.
Keep up with the latest news in Cairns and the Far North, and check out some of our top stories this week: Taskforce Guardian continues work against youth crime and Cairns Youth Council voting underway.