All of this was discussed and researched in the mid …

Comment on A bridge too far? A tunnel may be the answer. by Alex Nelson.

All of this was discussed and researched in the mid 1980s, with the (then) NT Department of Works conducting tests in the bed of the Todd River at Heavitree Gap for suitability of construction of a four-lane flyover.
The NT Government announced in May 1986 that it would proceed with a roundabout at the north entrance to Heavitree Gap, alterations to South Terrace, and a new bridge just downstream of, and replacing, the Casino Causeway (Taffy Pick Crossing).
Public consultation was undertaken during 1987 about road developments through Heavitree Gap, with ultimately a model of a four-lane flyover displayed for public comment late that year.
Then we got hit with the Easter flood of 1988 and the NT Government completely changed its priorities in favour of a full flood mitigation dam at Junction Waterhole north of town. We all know where that ended up.
Moreover, Alice Springs failed to grow anywhere close to the extent originally envisaged 30-plus years ago, so the pressure was off the government to continue with any of these plans with the exception of the Tom Brown Roundabout and nearby road alterations built in 1994.
A tunnel or tunnels through the main range isn’t a realistic prospect, and I doubt it makes economic sense. The Heysen Tunnels near Adelaide were probably the most cost effective option for road transport in that vicinity.
The fact is that the west side of Heavitree Gap has long been compromised and can never be returned to a “pristine” condition. It’s also the path of least resistance for practical and economic reasons for any future developments, as far as I can tell.
I can’t see the point in “restoring” Heavitree Gap into a “pristine” condition by punching tunnels through the ranges. It’s a nonsense proposition.
In the long run there will probably be a need to widen the road through Heavitree Gap, and I expect that will most easily be achieved by a bridge structure that perhaps could include the existing laneways.
However, it’s difficult to see any chance of that happening for a very long time.

Alex Nelson Also Commented

A bridge too far? A tunnel may be the answer.
A tunnel through the main range (including on the eastern side, too) is an idea almost as old as the hills 🙂
Conversely there have also been a number of proposals over the years to dam Heavitree Gap; and indeed, in 1952, it was suggested that all the gaps and gorges should be dammed to create an enormous reservoir stretching through the MacDonnells.
That idea was suggested just over a decade before the discovery of the Mereenie aquifer.


Recent Comments by Alex Nelson

The elusive goal of deep shade in Alice
@ Domenico Pecorari (Posted December 10, 2019 at 11:02 am): Isn’t this a telling observation: “Groundwater levels recorded at many key monitoring bores within the Alice Springs Town Basin aquifer are (as of April 2019) at their lowest levels in recent history, and have declined below their previous low levels recorded during 2008-09 at many locations.”
The year 2009 is currently the driest on record for Alice Springs – the total for the year was 76.8mm, and about 5mm less than the previous record set in 1965, the last full year of the 1960s drought (and it’s not generally remembered there was widespread tree mortality across the region during the early 1960s).
The town basin provided the water supply for Alice Springs at the time, and restrictions were a normal part of life.
So far this year only 53.4mm of rainfall has been recorded at the Alice Springs Airport, and there’s only three weeks left to go.
That’s only a smidgeon above two inches of rain for the year, and almost an inch lower than the 2009 total.
There is a high probability that the record for driest year in the Alice won’t just be broken, it will be smashed out of the ball park.
We also need to take into account the hotter weather we’ve experienced for longer periods of time which means that evaporation rates are substantially higher.
Small wonder that trees are struggling.


PowerWater, Territory Generation CEOs sacked
@ Evelyne Roullet (Posted December 9, 2019 at 11:47 am): Yes, we can sack the government but we just have to wait patiently for the NT elections in August next year.
I think there’s more than a few of us willing to wield lethal pencils on the ballot papers.


65 years of history now a pile of rubble
@ L Westerdale (Posted December 5, 2019 at 11:57 am): You say the old high school was only used for its intended purpose for 20 years?
Alice Springs Higher Primary School (equivalent to modern middle schools), 1953-60 – that’s eight years; then Alice Springs High School, 1961-72 – that’s another 12 years; then Anzac Hill High School, 1987-2009 – another 23 years.
Hmm, let’s see: 8 + 12 = 20; then 20 + 23 = 43. Yep, that’s right, 43 years as an upper primary and secondary school, not including the overlap with other roles and functions.
As recent national media reports have noted, Australia’s performance in secondary education of science, maths and reading is declining and below the average of OECD nations (and it seems some adults are the ones showing the way for today’s students).
As a nation we have a low regard for science and education, and in the Northern Territory we far prefer to preserve old gaols than we do old schools – a fact never better demonstrated than under the current Gunner Government which has overseen the rejection of two heritage nominations for former schools.
What was the Labor slogan from about two decades ago? Something about Australia being a “clever country?”


Claire Hockridge found dead
@ Ted Egan (Posted December 4, 2019 at 7:55 am): “When will they ever learn?”
We live in a time where the recent arrivals all know better than those who have lived here for far longer.
Experience, and the knowledge borne from it, counts for very little – almost nothing – in this age of tertiary tyranny where everything requires little tickets of paper with extra letters after your name to “prove” you know anything.
It’s not just hapless people lost in the bush who fall victim to this stupidity, just look at the general situation with so many well-paid qualified professional experts in charge of it all.
Such people can’t afford to learn anything for fear of looking inadequate in front of their peers.
And thus ineptitude and incompetency reigns supreme over us all.


Pastoralist finds alive the second of the three missing
It’s a matter of considerable concern that the bogged vehicle was located in a creek bed about 22 km east of the Stuart Highway in the vicinity of Stuarts Well, as that is not far to go to seek help.
Many years ago I crashed my car on a remote track 30 km west of Giles Weather Station – it’s the only vehicle accident I’ve ever experienced (touch wood) but fortunately the worst I suffered was injured pride.
However, my predicament was that I had travelled 15 km from a junction on the main road and it was late February, the hottest time of year.
To cut a long story short, I ended up walking about 29 km back to Giles (I got a lift for the last kilometre) which I did in a day.
I knew where I was and which direction I had to go.
The fact that the missing people near Stuarts Well set out to walk 22 km westwards towards the Stuart Highway almost a fortnight ago suggests something has gone seriously wrong.


Be Sociable, Share!

A new way to support our journalism

We do not have a paywall. If you support our independent journalism you can make a financial contribution by clicking the red button below. This will help us cover expenses and sustain the news service we’ve been providing since 1994, in a locally owned and operated medium.

Erwin Chlanda, Editor