Traffic delays in South Lismore are costing heavy vehicle operators around $2.6 million each year, a Lismore City Council report has warned.
Trucks and cars travelling along the four-lane Bruxner Highway become bottlenecked at the two-lane bridge crossing Hollingworth Creek.
To alleviate the problem, the council has applied for two grants – one from the Federal Government, the other from the state government, to cover the $1,750,000 cost of the project.
According to a report to tonight’s meeting, the council has been successful with its Federal Government application, but now needs the state government to stump up the rest of the cash.
The Federal Government has agreed to provide $875,000 from the Bridges Renewal Program to build a bridge from Wilson Street north to Wilson Street south, across the creek.
But a funding request to the state government’s Fixing Country Roads program for the remaining amount was unsuccessful.
The council’s staff have estimated that the existing two lane bridge on the state-controlled Bruxner Highway carries 17,000 vehicles each day, including 1,790 heavy vehicles.
During peak hour in the morning and evening, inbound traffic is queued for almost a kilometre.
‘On the basis that during the peak hours 168 trucks are delayed by an average of 15 minutes during the morning and evening peaks and a heavy vehicle costs $120 per hour, the total cost of the delay is in the order of $10,000 per day or $2.6 million per year,’ the council report says.
‘Following discussions with local and regional freight and transport operators a new link road and creek crossing would provide an alternative route for freight heading north and east.
As a result of the state government rejection, the council must now decide whether to pursue the project or reject the Federal Government’s funding offer.
The council meets tonight to discuss the report.