Contributed

Rocky horror halts pontoon work

EARLY construction on the Ulmarra pontoon has hit a snag after a pile of ballast on the riverbed brought work to a grinding halt last week.

The pontoon, which is being assembled as part of the Clarence Valley Council's (CVC) Clarence River Way masterplan aimed at promoting the river as one of Australia's greatest attractions, is being built by Brisbane-based company The Jetty Specialists who discovered the rocky obstacle when attempting to sink the first pylons.

CVC deputy general manager Des Schroder said engineers managing the pontoon's construction were planning to bring in a drill rig to break through the rocks after divers assessed the depth of the ballast.

According to Mr Schroder, engineers are expected to resort to rock blasting should the drill rig fail.

"Work on the Ulmarra pontoon only started a week ago and most of the ballast has likely come from rock walls and flood prevention tactics to protect the community from flooding over the years," he said.

"If measures to remove the ballast pile fail, the pontoon may then be moved slightly along the riverbank.

"By building a pontoon at Ulmarra council is looking to increase tourism in the region by providing more accessible points along the river. Another pontoon is also expected to be constructed at Brushgrove."

The Jetty Specialists have recently completed work on a new pontoon at Harwood Island. Mr Schroder has also indicated new jetties and pontoons could be built at Grafton, Lawrence and Maclean to maximise the Clarence River as a tourism destination and adventure route for yachting, kayaking, wind surfing and sailing.

"The Clarence River is one of our biggest assets and due to its increasing popularity with tourists, we need to deliver infrastructure and facilities which will position the river as one of the world's best."



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