A new twist to highway assessment

CLIMATE change is to be factored into the environmental assessment now being prepared by the RTA for the Warrell Creek to Urunga section of the Pacific Highway upgrade.

Residents such as Geoff Browne of Old Coast Road, Macksville, have been pressing the RTA on this point for some time now.

“Up until now the RTA have not taken climate change and global warming into account in their calculations for flood levels,” Mr Browne said. “It's about time they began doing this.”

A spokesman for the RTA said predictions in sea level rises and changes in rainfall intensity would be considered in terms of their impact on the highway as part of the assessment.

The latest highway plans, announced two weeks ago, have made little difference to Nambucca Shire residents caught in the limbo of upgrade process.

The member for Oxley, Andrew Stoner, said he believed the people of Warrell Creek had been dudded last September when the NSW Government moved the route without prior notice.

“The Government should have compensated people immediately so they could get on with their lives,” Mr Stoner said.

He said should the opposition win the 2011 elections, a new State Government would definitely review the highway route, provided no physical work had actually commenced.

“In particular we would be looking at the Old Coast Road section and also south of Macksville.

“I believe there is a better route, which has been put forward by the residents and knocked back by the RTA on spurious grounds.”

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