Eight-lane highway plans shock locals

THERE was mostly shock and disbelief as residents realised the scale of the highway upgrade at a meeting on Friday night, according to Combined Highway Lobby Group spokesman Gary Davey.

The meeting, attended by 80 people, was called to conduct a detailed review of newly released initial RTA concept plans for the highway route between Sapphire and Woolgoolga.

"People were deeply shocked by the maps. The engineers' plans, for the first time, have brought home to people the true scale of this project," Mr Davey said, adding that in places the highway was 200 metres wide with up to eight lanes of traffic.

"This massive construction is not what the Northern Beaches community wants."

Mr Davey said the group wanted to see immediate minimal upgrade to the existing highway to address safety issues, and a commitment from the State Government to a western bypass.

"When you see the plans for the interchanges at Split Solitary Road and Moone Beach Road, they're massive, with major roundabouts on either sides, a flyover, and eight lanes.

"This is not an upgrade. It is a national motorway, right through the middle of our community."

The group will now continue to gather information and put further pressure on the RTA.

"We identified 21 defects or issues of concern that we'll take to the RTA," Mr Davey said.

The concerns included safety, environmental impact, construction issues, pollution, and noise.

"They have to cut into hillsides along the route, so noise reflects off that. Also, some sections are elevated, and as soon as you elevate noise it travels further," he said.

"If this project gets built, it will be a billion dollar scandal."

Coffs Harbour mayor Cr Keith Rhoades said he had not received the invitation to the meeting that Mr Davey said he sent, and that the last plans he had seen, and on which council based it's current position, were from December.

"I haven't seen the plans, so it's very difficult to comment. The last plans I've seen were those with the corridor ? basically lines on a map," Cr Rhoades said.

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