Work to start on controversial bridge

Work to start on controversial bridge

The first pictures have been released of a new $19 million pedestrian overpass to be built across Elizabeth Ave at Clontarf.

It will be 35m south of the King St intersection, adjacent to Clontarf Beach State High School (CBSHS) and span the four-lane road to Ray Frawley Fields.

Funding has been fast-tracked through the Australian Road Safety Program, split 80:20 by the Federal ($15.2m) and State Governments ($3.8m), as part of the COVID-19 economic recovery.

The project follows a request by CBSHS to improve safety for its students. Construction work is expected to start by the middle of this year.

A meeting was held on Friday between residents opposed to the bridge, the Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR), CBSHS, Federal Member for Petrie Luke Howarth and State Member for Redcliffe Yvette D’Ath.

'Urgent consultation'

Sue and Phil Johnson, who live nearby, launched the ‘Say No to Elizabeth Avenue $19 million Pedestrian Overpass’ petition, which was delivered to the local elected members, with more than 210 signatures.

Since the meeting, Mrs Johnson has requested “urgent consultation” with State Transport Minister Mark Bailey over the bridge plans saying the community was “unaware of the proposal and public reaction has been almost completely negative”.

“We care for the safety of our children but do not feel the proposed project of $19 million is justified, that other more cost-effective solutions should be explored, and that community road safety issues have not been addressed properly,” Mrs Johnson said.

“We also need to protect our wildlife, especially our endangered koalas, and the project does not in its current form respect, care and cater for their longevity, even with this hugely over-blown amount of funding.”

Hercules Road

In her meeting notes, Mrs Johnson said there would be no additional safety measures at the intersection where she says “driver inattention” and “speed” were issues.

Mrs Johnson also said the bridge would be “closed-in”, painted in CBSHS colours and trees on both sides of the road would be removed.

Federal Member for Petrie Luke Howarth said he preferred the money to be spent on a pedestrian overpass at Hercules Rd which has “been an issue for years”.

“I said (to TMR) it’s a road safety program, what options do you have?” he said, “they said there were no other options and the money has to be spent in a certain timeframe.”

Mr Howarth also attended a site visit on Friday and asked for the positioning of the bridge to be adjusted slightly to save a number of trees.

Safety concerns

A spokesperson for TMR said CBSHS had “reported safety concerns” when students crossed to access the sporting fields and while walking to and from school.

“The current arrangements constrain the regular use of the ovals due to the safety of students travelling across Elizabeth Avenue,” the spokesperson said.

“The overpass will also be available for the community and will be accessible to pedestrians, bike riders and people with mobility devices via staircases and ramps connecting to the school campuses and a surrounding shared pathway network.”

“An opportunity to view the plans will be provided in the coming weeks with a display at the school ovals on Silcock Street.”

The spokesperson said funding from the Federal Government was provided on a “use it or lose it” basis.

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