Attacks clearly intentional
By PATRIZIA REIMER firstname.lastname@example.org BERNARD GRINBERG is not surprised vandals have caused $30,000 damage to noise barrier panels along the Pacific Highway near Byron Bay.
The Ewingsdale resident warned the RTA during negotiations to build a sound barrier at St Helena that the see-through panels would not be as safe or sturdy as the steel panels used either side of them.
“When we sat down with the RTA we felt the glass was unnecessary,” he said.
“It cost more money, it’s clearly easily vandalised and the money would have been better spent with the RTA meeting its original commitment to run the wall to the Ewingsdale interchange.
“And why would you want to encourage people to look to the side when they’re driving?
“If they want a view they should stop at the turn-off, not be looking to the side. The sound barrier has made a big difference to many people, but we in fact asked the RTA for the barriers to be both taller and longer,” he said.
Since January, six panels made of 25mm thick transparent glass have been shattered at a cost of $5000 each.
A spokesperson for the RTA said they are still investigating the incidents which occurred on at least three separate occasions.
“The RTA is disappointed about the illegal acts which will ultimately cost the community,” she said.
“The RTA is working to replace the panels as soon as possible and also investigating potential safeguards against further damage.
“The transparent glass was used to minimise the visual impact of the wall. As well as reducing the level of noise, it was important to the local community that the noise walls caused minimal visual impact for residents and the travelling public.
“As part of the environmental assessment and community consultation process, the area was recognised as having very high visual sensitivity and it was considered necessary to provide noise wall design that was sympathetic to the surrounding environment.
“Since the noise wall was installed the RTA said it had received positive community feedback about the visual impact at the location.”