Local, Opinion/Comment

We expected tunnels because the government said that is what we would get!

Anyone wanting to learn about the history of the Coffs Harbour Bypass should read this document.

By Rod McKelvey

It has the weighty name of the “Pacific Highway Upgrade Coffs Harbour Bypass State significant infrastructure application report. May 2015.”  But it is a mighty important document and it is authored by the RMS.

It’s got the Background on page 5, the Project Objectives, the Selection of the Preferred Route on pages 6 – 9, the Consultation process on page 9, and importantly the Project Description on page 13.  The latter crucially  reads in part:

“The project is expected to include the following key elements:

  • Bypass of Coffs Harbour urban area from south of the Englands Road intersection to Korora Hill.
  • Upgrade of the existing Pacific Highway between Korora Hill and the southern end of the Sapphire to Woolgoolga upgrade project to achieve motorway standard.
  • Three grade-separated interchanges at Englands Road, Coramba Road and Korora Hill.
  • Two tunnels at the northern end of project, and a tunnel south of Coramba Road at Roberts Hill Ridge.
  • Structures to pass over local roads and creeks as well as a bridge over the North Coast Railway.
  • A series of cuttings and embankments along the alignment.
  • Modifications to the local road network, if required, to enable local connections across and around the Pacific Highway.
  • Ancillary works and facilities, including (but not limited to) utility adjustments, signage and operational requirements for tunnels.
  • Ancillary temporary construction facilities and temporary works to facilitate the construction of the project.”

(Emphasis added)

Note in the opening paragraph of the report how the bypass fits onto the recently opened Sapphire to Woolgoolga Upgrade ($1.2B).

Also especially note dot points four and eight above and understand why we expected tunnels. Is it because it was what they expected too?

If so what has changed then since May 2015?

Too much money, time, studies and planning has gone into this to change it massively now.  So it won’t happen.

(Picture of last Thursday’s community meeting left – courtesy Lattitude 30 South).

If we don’t watch it they’ll build what’s on display and that will be an absolute disaster.

Lobby for tunnels, the lowest grade line possible, the quietest road surface known to man, and descent vegetated sound absorbing earth banks instead of concrete walls.

It’s what they said we’d get.

Tunnels. Not trenches!

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