It’s time for you to ask RMS some hard questions about the proposed bypass

Two days ago the Federal and State Governments announced their new plans for the Coffs Harbour bypass.  As predicted it included less by way of tunnels as was originally promised. 

By Rod McKelvey

The preferred Coffs Bypass concept design for the Coffs Harbour bypass is now on display. Updates on the design, including changes made to the design since it was last displayed to the community. To view and comment on the design, visit the RMS website,  the link for which is here.

To provide an opportunity for the community to discuss the project, three staffed displays will be held at the Coffs Harbour Golf Club as per the details below:

Session 1 – Thursday, 27 September from 4pm-7pm

Session 2 – Saturday, 13 October from 9am-12pm

Session 3 – Thursday, 18 October from 4pm-7pm.

I urge you to print out the questions below, take a pen and write down the answers RMS give you.  Feel free to share them here under this story in the comments section.

Questions for RMS Coffs Harbour Pacific Highway Bypass public display

 

SubjectQuestionsIf they answer ??? ask the following…
NoiseWhy has the RMS Noise report not been issued in order to allow residents to assess their risk and options?

 

How many houses are expected to be treated?

 

What are the expected dBA readings at the closest houses to the bypass?

 

What amount of money does RMS allow to treat each house?

 

Are those proposed noise walls in the cross section of Old Coast Road really 10m high?

 

What’s the vertical bit on the right hand side of that Old Coast Road drawing, is that concrete as well?

 

If RMS answer: ‘it’s not finished yet and we will be releasing soon’.

 

Ask: really, you are two months out from releasing a EIS according to your timeline and allowing for editing and printing, you are saying that a specific and important report is not finished. Is that true or would an FOI tell a different story?

RMS responses (write them down and keep)

 

SubjectQuestionIf they answer ??? ask the following…
Dangerous GoodsThe Minister and you guys are constantly quoting dangerous goods and getting them out of Coffs as a justification for not building tunnels, but we are only talking about Class 1 and Class 2.1 as being restricted from tunnels and all the rest can go through tunnels. The previous Connell Wagner report of 2004 indicated that the number of heavy vehicles in these two classes amounts to less than 20 trucks in a 24hr period which is less than one per hour.

 

Has RMS updated this study and what is the new number of class 1 and class 2:1 restricted trucks now using the highway in 2018?  How many of those are actually stopping in Coffs or have Coffs as their destination so they will continue to use the existing highway and come into Coffs?

 

 

 

If RMS answer:   the study is incomplete as yet.

 

Ask: Really, two months out from releasing a EIS and having already decided that there would be no tunnels because of the number of dangerous goods coming into Coffs and you are using the numbers to justify a change in design, now you are telling us the numbers aren’t quite in yet?

This is basic engineering. Get your facts and figures and then design the best outcomes after assessing all the risks.

Anything else is reckless and providing a cheap option.

RMS responses (write them down and keep)

 

SubjectQuestionsIf they answer ??? ask the following…
Concept Design

 (The engineering)

Cuts and fills

What is the height and width of the cuts allowed for in the current design?

 

What is the height and width of the fills allowed for in the current design?

 

Artists impressions aside, there will only be weeds growing on those cuts.

 

 

Grades

What are the grades on the steep sections?

 

How much higher is this new design without tunnels, than the previous design? (how high in the air is it which increases road noise substantially)

 

Why is there not a third lane on the 4.5% grade like at St Helena to get the slowest trucks out of the way?

 

If RMS answer: the design is not yet finished

 

Ask: a concept design with time allowed for substantive community consultation should have commenced well before this. You are saying that you are looking for a community response now but you have an EIS coming out in two months and you will have no time to incorporate Coffs community comments in that time.

Then it comes out and then you allow us a very small amount of time to challenge anything and you push Department of Planning for approval because you want to start work in 2020.

Where is the community consultation in all this? Aren’t you just telling us that you are building this no matter what we think?

RMS responses (write them down and keep)

 

SubjectQuestionsIf they answer ??? ask the following…
TUNNELSHow does RMS define a tunnel (how would you describe it)?

 

 

How many ‘tunnels’ are there in this project?

 

 

How much lower would the road be if we had tunnels and how would this affect noise for the whole community?

 

How much more expensive are three tunnels? And how was this costing done?

 

 

an artificial underground passage, especially one built through a hill or under a building, road, or river.  There is minimal visual scaring in a tunnel.

 

A cut and cover tunnel’ that RMS want to build is basically a deep cut with all the scaring and then concrete over the top.

 

RMS responses (write them down and keep)

 

SubjectQuestionsIf they answer ??? ask the following…
TRADITIONAL CUSTODIANSFor many year RMS/RTA has spoken to the Aboriginal people and traditional custodians of this land.  As recently as two years ago, RMS told the consultative committee that there would be tunnels and that their Dreaming and pathways and artefacts would be protected. Has an archaeological report been completed for the project and how significant are the finds? How will RMS protect these important ridge lines with deep cuts?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

is minimal visual scaring in a tunnel.

A cut and cover tunnel’ that RMS want to build is basically a deep cut with all the scaring and then concrete over the top.

 

RMS responses (write them down and keep)

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Rod McKelvey is a former Deputy Mayor of Coffs Harbour.

 

  
  

 

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