“Despite numerous requests to the NSW Government and the RMS by the Coffs Harbour Council and Coffs Bypass Action Group (CBAG), we are yet to receive concrete advice that the re-worked concept design for the Coffs Harbour bypass will include bored or driven tunnels,” said Graham Stubington the CBAG spokesperson.
Instead we have Minister Perrottet reported statement on the ABC on election night, that “Coffs Harbour was getting tunnels because land bridges are tunnels,” confirms the scepticism that little change is being made to the 2018 RMS concept, which was roundly condemned by the community and Council.
When looking at the definition of tunnels, Wikipedia defines a tunnel as: “an underground passageway, dug through the surrounding soil/earth/rock and enclosed except for the entrance and exit. A cut and cover tunnel is constructed in a shallow trench and then covered over.”
The Gatelys Road proposed cutting would be 65 metres in depth. Putting what amounts to an 80-metre car port at the bottom of a section of this cutting is not a cut and cover tunnel, or any tunnel, but a deliberate deception by the RMS.
At the inaugural Community Consultative Committee on 29 April, the RMS stated that the bypass design is still being looked at and would not be available until the release of the Environmental Impact Statement in July 2019.
“This is unsatisfactory,” said Mr Stubington. “It is difficult to comprehend that with an EIS being released in some eight weeks, that the RMS does not know what the bypass design concept is and whether it incorporates the three driven tunnels demanded by the community.”
It is time that the RMS heeded the community demands for three driven tunnels, especially noting that this bypass will be used for the next 100 years minimum, and will have a significant impact on the environment and noise levels for a large proportion of Coffs Harbour residents.
The above is a Press Release from CBAG – 8 May 2019.