Coffs Harbour bypass shelved with Pacific Hwy given priority
FINALISED Coffs Harbour bypass plans have been placed at the back of a Sydney bureaucrat's cupboard and are unlikely to be brought back out until all other Pacific Hwy projects are completed.
The bypass was listed as a priority in the recently released NSW 20-year transport master plan but a spokesman for Roads and Maritime Services said this week work would only begin "once the rest of the highway is upgraded".
In the Mid North Coast chapter it's noted that planning for the bypass has been completed and in the short term "we will continue to process land acquisition for the project".
Delivering the bypass is listed as a "long term" goal but there is no indication of when, in the next 20 years, work could begin.
The chapter also highlights the challenges of balancing a booming and ageing population with tired transport infrastructure.
It's predicted more pressure will be placed on the already congested Pacific Hwy as the population almost doubles in the next 20 years.
Even after duplication, the plan outlines the need for an overhaul of local and regional rail and bus services to take the pressure off the highway, particularly during peak tourist seasons.
The report recognises regional bus services are inadequate and will not cope with the needs of a socially disadvantaged and ageing population - the number of residents over 65 is expected to double in the next 25 years - requiring access to health care.
The expansion of a north coast bus line between Taree and Grafton with more frequent stops at Coffs Harbour and additional interchanges along the Pacific Hwy is also on the cards.