UNDER WAY: Council engineer Lee McElroy at the transport hub. Picture: Stephen WarkIN A first for Port Stephens, the council has discovered a novel approach to grow trees in car parks and avoid a potential Laman Street-type disaster that Newcastle City Council had to contend with.
The Port council has installed a sophisticated structural soil cell system to allow trees to co-exist with the pavement at its $200,000 transport hub at Raymond Terrace.
The system aims to avoid long-term damage, as witnessed in Newcastle’s drawn out controversy involving the removal of six giant fig trees.
The modular Stratevault underground system has been installed to form a skeletal frame to support the pavement load above it, as well as large volumes of soil for root growth.
Les Seddon, the council’s natural resources co-ordinator, said the system meant that trees could be incorporated in the design for the hub, capitalising on environmental and aesthetic benefits.
“The idea is to get trees which aren’t going to damage the asphalt and concrete infrastructure, because the biggest problem is the tree roots tend to cause a lot of damage over the long term, which has happened in that car park,” he said.
“The reason we want trees in car parks is to shade cars, which can reduce pollution by up to 5 per cent.”
Funded by a $100,000 grant, the transport hub is intended to improve safety and access to the shopping precinct of Raymond Terrace, especially for people with special accessibility needs.
The site was chosen with taxi service providers, NSW Transport, Port Stephens traffic committee and Raymond Terrace Business Chamber.
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