The River Street Bridge and the other road projects the RMS is undertaking in Dubbo have divided the city.
Ordinary citizens have criticised the projects as have retired engineers, councillors and business people.
Dubbo Regional Council Local Traffic Committee member John Morris says the Nationals should consider "alternative options the former council never presented to RMS."
Dubbo resident Allan Murphy, who had a long career as an Engineer and Project Manager specialising in community consultation and roadworks says the current RMS proposal is a short-sighted attempt at providing a band-aid only solution to the city's traffic problems.
A Dubbo Regional Council survey on the bridge had 2603 responses from the community. Of those, 69 per cent said they were against it.
Despite all this, RMS Director Western region Alistair Lunn has steadfastly defended the projects and says they will provide immense benefits to Dubbo. Mr Lunn answered the Daily Liberal's questions, many of which have come from the community.
How will the River Street bridge help with flood immunity as it starts and ends in a flood zone?
Dubbo is on a flood plain. There is no easy solution and there are constraints with all options. I can say the new bridge will keep people moving through and around Dubbo during a flood.
The bridge will provide 1 in 100 year flood immunity; the upgraded roads on either side of the bridge will provide flood immunity up to 1 in 50 year for a Macquarie River flood. This second high level crossing of the Macquarie River which will connect to River Street will provide an essential east-west connector for Dubbo to ensure access during floods for emergency services, local schools, hospital and the airport.
How will the River Street option work, as the highway north of the river and Bourke Street intersection also floods?
The River Street option is not attempting to address flooding north of the Newell Highway intersection. RMS acknowledges this area floods and during this time it is intended that the existing council flood detour will be used.
Is the River Street bridge the best option to help with traffic flow in Dubbo?
The River Street design out-performed the other six options in terms of providing improved local traffic flow in Dubbo, improved local freight and heavy vehicle traffic access across the river and for future growth in north-west Dubbo. It also will ensure the least impact to local property.
Why don't you support community calls for a high-level bridge at Troy Bridge Road?
There is no evidence or data to support this option. There would be significantly more impacts to property in a busier part of Dubbo. It would not improve local flooding and east-west congestion would remain an issue.
What about reducing traffic on Whylandra Street?
It is not an objective of the River Street Bridge to address congestion in Whylandra Street. This is being addressed by the upgrade of the Newell and Mitchell highway intersection. Dubbo Regional Council is responsible for addressing local traffic needs and issues arising from the expansion of West Dubbo.
Why do you oppose a ring road like the one in Orange, surely it would be more beneficial than the River Street option?
Studies show more than 90 per cent of motorists want to visit rather than travel past Dubbo, meaning an outer ring road option would only benefit 10 per cent of motorists. A ring road would also not solve east-west access to schools, the airport and emergency services during flooding.
Well, Orange has a ring road, why can't Dubbo?
Orange City Council built their ring road at their cost, with support from the NSW Government. A Dubbo ring road would be the responsibility of Dubbo City Council to progress when there is a plan for Dubbo's expansion and to seek NSW Government support for planning and delivery. The NSW Government is responsible for the state road network; council needs to plan and deliver broader road infrastructure.
The River Street bridge will destroy Aboriginal land and artefacts, local elders say, what is your response to that?
The project team is working with the Aboriginal community and will work together to beautify Wiradjuri Park while following strict processes to ensure the preservation of Aboriginal and cultural heritage. Four Aboriginal heritage sites have been identified in the project corridor and we are working closely with the Aboriginal community to relocate and preserve all artefacts. The grinding grooves will not be impacted.
The owners of the Victoria Street shops were shocked to find an RMS plan, as part of the Newell Highway/ Mitchell Highway intersection upgrade, removed their shopfront parking, has this issue been resolved?
The parking in front of the Victoria Street shops is being retained with the exception of two spaces closest to the intersection. This was an amendment to the project after valuable feedback from the local community.
Doesn't RMS care about the impact of stopping a right turn into Baird Street?
We do care. We are listening to the community and will review our plans, traffic modelling and other potential options for traffic movements around the upgraded intersections. Once all feedback has been received and the review is complete, we will be back in contact with affected residents and businesses.
The NSW Government does not seem to be listening, especially about the River Street bridge project.
We are listening and accept there are mixed views in the community and want the best for Dubbo. The current public feedback period and display of proposed plans provided an important opportunity for people to ask questions and have their say to shape the final designs for the road upgrade work.