HIGHWAY PLANS LEFT US NUMB
By BELINDA SCOTT
JULIE and Vaughan Jones spent yesterday morning walking around the garden of their Gaudrons Road home in shock.
Looking at the digital image of the highway plans overlaid on an aerial photograph of Split Solitary Road and Gaudrons Road, they are wondering just where their home will be when the new Pacific Highway is built and whether it will vanish underneath the bypass.
"We are still numb. We have not even processed the information," Mrs Jones said.
"We are trying to work out where it fits for us and the community.
"Local traffic and through traffic have to be separated, but we have to protect the coastal area.
"When was the RTA going to tell anyone ? I don't want to live in a community with a motorway running through it ? Tasmania's looking good.
The couple say they have heard nothing from the RTA since the last consultative meeting years ago, but had seen surveyors in their area more recently.
"We desperately need a bypass but I am not aware of any other community in NSW that has been treated like this," Mrs Jones said.
Neighbour Jay Ruthnam said the Coffs Coast Advocate image was very different to the RTA plans he was told about.
Dr Ruthnam said he had always said he was prepared to accept what needed to be done for the greater good to improve the 'abysmal' state of the Pacific Highway and reduce road deaths, 'but the RTA record to date has been extremely poor in judgment and lacking in foresight'.
Following a meeting with the RTA on Monday, Steve Moody of Woolgoolga Area Residents (WAR) group, said the RTA now planned to build a continuous service road beside a motorway from Sapphire to Woolgoolga, contradicting the original localuse justification for a motorway. The WAR group is pushing for a modest upgrading of the Pacific Highway to service local needs.
The owner of a tourist development which will be affected by the proposal said compared to the original footprint of the Pacific Highway, the new plans 'have changed it from sneakers to jackboots' and the plans affecting his own home, which is likely to be resumed, are 'very scary' but without any certainty.
He said residents were already affected by the huge increase in compression braking due to the volume of trucks using the highway since the Chinder- ah bypass was opened.