Australia Brisbane's western suburb residents to have their say on Walter Taylor Bridge duplication
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Brisbane's western suburb residents are being asked how they navigate a chronic commuter pinch-point at the Walter Taylor Bridge, between Chelmer and Indooroopilly, as the council considers duplicating the heritage bridge.
The 85-year-old two-lane bridge is a constant congestion headache for drivers travelling over the Brisbane River from the city's south-western suburbs to Indooroopilly and the CBD.
The council confirmed in October last year that it was in the early stages of a pre-feasibility study on the long-mooted idea of duplicating the bridge.
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On social media, Walter Taylor ward LNP councillor James Mackay said the study would "focus on defining the problem and whether there is merit in adding more capacity for travel across the river".
"The study will also examine whether potential solutions are likely to be cost effective," his post said on Monday.
Transport Minister Mark Bailey has lobbied the council to build a new bridge for years and said the age of the existing bridge was a major factor.
"It is a very old bridge and we certainly have to plan for, I suspect, the day we have load limits and volume limits on it, because that day will come," he said.
Mr Bailey said he wanted to see a new bridge developed for local traffic, while the larger Centenary Motorway bridge further west could also be duplicated by the state to cope with wider traffic.
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"I don’t think it should be a big, over-engineered, traffic-funnelling bridge," he said.
"It needs to be a well-designed local bridge that takes into account people’s travel patterns."
Local councillors and Greens MP Michael Berkman have argued that adding more lanes will not improve traffic.
On Monday, the council launched its three-month consultation process with a survey asking how residents travel around the western suburbs, and what single addition would improve their travelling experience.
But independent Tennyson ward councillor Nicole Johnston, on the south side of the river, questioned the council's survey.
"It seems the fix is in, with council's online survey failing to ask the single most important question: 'Do you support a new bridge?'" she said.
"Asking the right questions and getting genuine feedback from directly impacted residents, on both sides of the river, is critical and this survey falls short."
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Council documents obtained by the Greens under Right to Information concluded the bridge needed to be duplicated by 2041 or earlier to cope with congestion.
Inbound vehicles can take nearly six minutes to cross the bridge under current conditions, which would be halved to three minutes if the bridge is duplicated, according to the documents.
Mr Berkman said he opposed building a new bridge.
"If the Labor Transport Minister and the LNP council are genuinely willing to listen to residents, they should get feedback on long-term solutions to get cars off the road," he said.
"That could include reopening the Tennyson Train line between Corinda and Yeerongpilly, more connecting buses (especially between Indro and UQ, Fig Tree Pocket and Long Pocket), and safe separated bike lanes on Lambert Rd, Oxley Rd or Honour Ave, and King Arthur Terrace."
Mr Bailey said the Tennyson line would not cater to enough people to merit the delays it would cause on larger Gold Coast, Ipswich and Beenleigh rail lines.
The pre-feasibility study is expected to be completed toward the end of 2022.
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