A TRAFFIC modelling report that assessed four different options for the Daintree River crossing and the ability to reduce wait times for the next 17 years is now publicly available.
Douglas Shire Council CEO Mark Stoermer today presented the results from the Daintree Ferry traffic report, which analysed congestion and used microsimulation to assess future traffic conditions, at a public meeting in Cow Bay.
Council commissioned and funded the report that investigated the efficiency of four future options: do nothing, two ferries, a larger ferry and a bridge.
The full report is available on Council’s website and will accompany tender documents when they are released to the market.
Douglas Shire Mayor Julia Leu said the new report provided clarity about wait times at the Daintree Ferry and analysed the effectiveness of possible solutions.
“We now have very reliable data and traffic modelling predictions that we can refer to when making decisions about the Daintree Ferry,” she said.
“At this stage, we know there needs to be changes at the Daintree River crossing and a second ferry is putting a strong case forward, but the ultimate decision will be a complex balancing act between what the market can offer, what our community wants and our requirements as a Council.
“We are all enthusiastically heading into this tender period with an open mind and look forward to seeing some detailed, innovative solutions that industry experts can propose.”
The tender documentation is designed to get the market to respond to key issues such as wait times, maintaining local employment and improving the tourism appeal.
Council will assess tenders alongside the key factors below:
- Service efficiency (Queuing, wait times)
- Financial (Revenue, expenses, capital investment)
- Experience (Tourism experience)
- Availability (Downtime, disaster recovery)
- Safety (Traffic and loading, crocodiles. exiting vehicles)
A 57-page Daintree Ferry Community Engagement report has been downloaded more than 210 times since it was published on Council’s website in February this year.
The report was compiled after consultation activities that attracted 117 responses to the online survey, 10 submissions via email and 40 residents attended the forums.
Visitor attitudes were also gleaned from 370 TripAdvisor reviews over the past three years as well as from anecdotal evidence provided by residents and those who work in the tourism industry.
“Council staff have wrapped up a thorough community engagement process, we have delivered the traffic modelling report and now is the time for the market and industry experts to have their say on the future of the river crossing,” Mayor Leu said.
Council expects tender documentation to be finalised and released to the market by July.
Council extends 5am starts at Daintree Ferry
EARLY birds can continue to hitch a ride on the Daintree Ferry for the next 12 months.
Douglas Shire Council will continue 5am starts at the river crossing after a six-month trial fetched almost 900-vehicle movements since January 1 this year.
This is an average of five daily vehicle movements during the 5am to 6am period.
Douglas Shire Mayor Julia Leu said the trial helped some residents get to work and set up for weekend markets.
“The earlier start was a key request from businesses and residents that we received in community consultation last year,” she said.
“We know that the earlier start has boosted the employability of some residents who live north of the Daintree River and increased their ability to attend weekend markets in Mossman and Port Douglas.
“Heading into the busy season, Council believes the earlier start will also add flexibility for tourists travelling across Douglas Shire.”
The locals’ priority lane, which operates between 9am and 4.30pm during the peak season, is now open.
Douglas Shire Council crews also recently completed some landscaping works on the southern bank of the Daintree River to improve the amenity heading into tourism season.
More works are expected to take place soon to freshen up the area after the major flooding earlier this year.