Concerns over $19m bridge plans

Concerns over $19m bridge plans at Clontarf

A meeting will be held this afternoon to address growing opposition to plans for a pedestrian footbridge across Elizabeth Ave at Clontarf.

The meeting will include representatives from Federal and State Governments, which are funding the proposal under the Road Safety Program, as well as local campaigners.

Residents Sue and Phil Johnson, who have co-ordinated a leaflet drop and a petition against the $19 million project, will be attending.

Mrs Johnson said the petition was delivered to Federal Member for Petrie Luke Howarth, who will also be at the meeting. Mr Howarth said no safety concerns at that location had been raised with him.

Petition delivered

Mrs Johnson said a copy of the petition had also been delivered to the office of State Member for Redcliffe Yvette D’Ath, who has been approached for comment.

The proposed bridge would link Clontarf State High School with the Ray Frawley playing fields on the opposite side of the four-lane road.

The exact position was not revealed in the joint announcement by Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce, Federal Assistant Minister for Road Safety Scott Buchholz, State Transport Minister Mark Bailey and State Assistant Minister for Regional Roads Bruce Saunders.

The project has been “fast-tracked” under the Road Safety Program with funding split 80:20 between the governments. However, it has not been met with a chorus of approval.

Rumours

“We heard rumours (about a foot bridge) and there appears to have been testing around the site,” Mrs Johnson said.

“We are absolutely not against safety, but the school only uses those fields a few days a year. Employing a safety officer on those days would be better."

Mrs Johnson said there were bigger safety concerns on King St, which runs beside the high school.

Campaigners say too few people use the crossing to justify a $19 million bridge; the project could impact trees where koalas have been seen and there was no community consultation.

'Identified issues'

“At no point in my time as Federal Member for Petrie has anyone approached me with road safety concerns at this proposed overpass location at Elizabeth Ave, Clontarf,” Federal Member for Petrie Luke Howarth said.

“$19m for this overpass seems an extraordinary waste of funds when we consider the roads and infrastructure that is outstanding from the State Government.”

Mr Howarth said the road safety funding was given to state and territories to address identified issues.

Will Simon, of Greens for Petrie, has met with campaigners and called for more “transparency” over the project.

Shovel-ready projects

In the announcement of 46 road safety projects across Queensland, which included the Elizabeth Ave bridge, Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce said the upgrades would help keep motorists safe and the economy strong.

“We are investing in shovel-ready projects that can get underway quickly, saving lives sooner while supporting local construction jobs, businesses and the economy,” he said.

“Better road infrastructure will keep motorists and freight moving safely and efficiently, reducing the number of tragedies on our roads and driving our nation’s productivity.”

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