Coffs forgotten ? Bypass moves to the back of the queue

By MICK McCARTNEY

THE North Coast is to receive a$50 million planning project for the Pacific Highway to fast-track improvement works, but Coffs Harbour won't see a cent.

NSWPremier Bob Carr announced the planning project, stating it would accelerate work on the remaining 235 kilometres of Pacific Highway still to be upgraded. He said the project was about ensuring a safer Pacific Highway as quickly as possible.

The routes to be finalised in the planning include Woolgoolga to Ballina (173km), Oxley Highway to Kempsey (39km), Tintenbar to Ewingsdale (north of Ballina, 17km), Failford Road to Tritons Road (north of Nabiac, 3.3km) and Herons Creek to Stills Road (north of Kew, 3.3km).

But State member for Coffs Harbour Andrew Fraser is disappointed that Coffs Harbour has been neglected by the Carr Government.

"This is all about planning but what really annoys me is the credit he's (Premier Carr) claiming saying we're going to plan this and plan that and all we're asking him to do is get on with the deviation at Bonville/Pine Creek," Mr Fraser said.

"There have been seven deaths in two years and at the end of the day it is at least two years if not more since it should have been started."

Mr Fraser also said the Carr Government is dodging its responsibility by claiming the Bonville/Pine Creek deviation would be State and federally-funded, rather than fully State-funded as was originally stated on the RTA website.

"Now in the interim what I want Bob Carr to do is spend a million dollars or so, straighten those bends out where the deaths are occurring and put a concrete barrier down the middle of the road. That needs to be done immediately," he said.

Mr Fraser said any accusation that Coffs Harbour is missing out will be defended by the State Government by stating that the bypass of Coffs Harbour was a long-term plan.

"Sapphire to Woolgoolga is their first priority and it will be 10 years before they even look at starting anything around Coffs Harbour," he said.

"My attitude is if they are going to spend this sort of money (on planning) they should be spending some real money in getting the people of Coffs Harbour a real bypass and stop the angst that's in the community.

"All they've done by this announcement is extend the angst another 10 years."



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