Planning afoot to get Coffs bypass up and running
FOR too long locals have bemoaned that they won't see the construction of a Coffs Harbour bypass in their lifetime.
This afternoon acting Prime Minister Warren Truss inspected the potential route for the proposed bypass with Cowper MP Luke Hartsuyker and he said planning and work on the long awaited project is within view.
"I would anticipate that the timing of the construction of this project would follow-on immediately from the construction of the four-laning," Mr Truss said.
"That means we'll have to do advance work a year or two beforehand so you'll start seeing some kind of progress in this area about 2018/2019."
The Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development said the NSW Government committed $200 million towards the project in the 2015/16 budget, subject to a business case being prepared and finalised.
Standing with Mr Truss at the corner of Coramba and Spagnolos Rds, just east of a proposed major interchange on the bypass, Mr Hartsuyker said a completed route around Coffs Harbour would help to ease traffic congestion that currently exists within Coffs Harbour.
"A large part of the congestion that we see in Coffs Harbour is not as you would expect, through traffic, much of it is local traffic and this bypass plays an important role in allowing locals to move around the city without necessarily having to go through the main street.
"The location that we're at at the moment which will be a safe site for an interchange will be an important part of our local road infrastructure as well as part of the bypass project itself.
"It will enable who live for example in the Orara Valley to head north or south without having to go without having to go through the main street and also for people living in the north or south to enter the centre of town without having to go through so many traffic lights.
"We have some 13 traffic lights on the way through Coffs Harbour. With this increase in congestion it's going to lead to intolerable delays as the highway becomes busier and busier over time."
Mr Truss, currently the acting Prime Minister while Malcolm Turnbull is overseas, said beginning serious planning for the project now is vital as the Federal Government keeps one eye on future infrastructure needs.
"We have a five year agreement with NSW in relation to the funding program over that period and this project is not a part of that five year agreement. We're two years into that time, that's why we're starting to think now about what will be in the next five year agreement," he said.
"That's why costing and developing this project is important so it can be costed and included in the next program."