RMS plans for one in 20 year flood level for third crossing, councillors tells meeting

Plans by Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) to construct the third crossing of the Hawkesbury River at a one in 20 year flood level was a lost opportunity for the area, according to a local councillor.

During debate at the June 25 council meeting, Cr Danielle Wheeler stated RMS consultation over the river crossing had revealed the planned bridge level, which she described as "disturbing".

Heights: Richmond Bridge is less than nine metres above sea level, while Windsor Bridge is seven metres above sea level. Its replacement will be 9.8m above sea level.

Heights: Richmond Bridge is less than nine metres above sea level, while Windsor Bridge is seven metres above sea level. Its replacement will be 9.8m above sea level.

"One of the really disturbing things to come out of the consultation with the RMS last week was that Richmond bridge - or the third crossing of the river - will not be higher than one in 20, which I think is a real lost opportunity for the Hawkesbury," Cr Wheeler told the meeting.

One of the really disturbing things to come out of the consultation with the RMS last week was that ... the third crossing of the river will not be higher than one in 20.

Cr Danielle Wheeler

"It makes council's plans to try and get the crossing across the Grose as flood free as possible really important.

"What we are seeing here from another government body - the RMS - is that our concerns about evacuation and flood risk are simply not being heard and we need to make those clearer."

Locals had expressed the hope that the new crossing would be constructed at a one in 100 year flood level.

The Gazette approached RMS for comment on the possibility of the third river crossing being a one in 100 year level bridge, and a spokesperson said the agency was continuing to investigate options for the Richmond Bridge duplication.

"No decisions have been made about the height or location of the proposed new bridge but it must be recognised the land heights on either side of the existing bridge are well below the one in 100 year flood level," the spokesperson said in a statement.

"Roads and Maritime is also continuing to work closely with Infrastructure NSW and the SES around flood evacuation plans for the Hawkesbury region.

"Roads and Maritime will be asking the community and stakeholders to have their say on options for the proposed new bridge later this year. The community and stakeholders, including Hawkesbury City Council, will be kept informed as the project progresses."