A section of the Pacific Highway upgrade in 2018
A section of the Pacific Highway upgrade in 2018 Contributed

'Absolute frustration': Meeting planned over highway noise

RESIDENTS close to the Pacific Highway upgrade will soon have a chance to meet with those behind the project.

A Roads and Maritime Services spokeswoman said the Woolgoolga to Ballina Pacific Highway upgrade team would host a meeting on-site next week.

"The project team will be hosting a meeting at the McAndrews Lane site compound, Pimlico, to discuss the outcomes of the Operational Noise Review in the Broadwater to Pimlico area," she said.

She said the meeting would be held for two hours from on Monday, July 16 from 6pm.

She said the first hour would be a "general community briefing" and the second hour would be allocated to "individual resident briefings".

But Meerschaum Vale resident of 22 years Col McAndrew said he wasn't hopeful about what the meeting would mean for residents.

Mr McAndrew said he would not attend the meeting, citing a lack of follow-up communication after the RMS last met with residents last year.

He and his wife, Nancy, were told the operational noise from the upgrade would reach up to 55dB inside their home.

"We're getting over 80 and 90dB and nothing's been done about it," he said.

Mr McAndrew said they had qualified for at-home noise mitigation, including double-glazing on their windows and ducted air conditioning.

But he hoped they wouldn't have to be trapped inside their home to escape the highway noise.

"When we moved here we didn't consider being stuck indoors," he said.

Like others, they have been lobbying for a low-noise highway pavement.

Mr McAndrew said while they accepted the highway upgrade needed to go ahead, they were feeling "absolute frustration" over the process.

The RMS spokeswoman said they had looked into the noise mitigation options since meeting with Meerschaum Vale residents last year.

"Following a request from some Meerschaum Vale residents in 2017, Roads and Maritime agreed to investigate whether a low noise surface in the Richmond River to Coolgardie section of the Woolgoolga to Ballina upgrade would be a reasonable and feasible mitigation measure for operational noise," she said.

She said the Operational Noise Review found "at-property treatment" would be both reasonable and feasible, with operational noise expected to be "below levels needed to justify a low-noise surface".

"After the new highway is open and traffic is travelling at the full speed of 110km/h, Roads and Maritime will carry out further noise monitoring to confirm the noise mitigation measures which have been implemented are appropriate and in accordance with the project's conditions of approval," she said.

Residents have planned their own meeting for Meerchaum Vale Hall to begin after the RMS meeting on Monday.