Is the western bypass back on agenda?

By LEE McDOUGALL

A PASSING comment made during a meeting on City Centre planning has given Woolgoolga resident Steve Moody hope for a future that contains a Pacific Highway western bypass of Coffs Harbour.

The ABC yesterday reported that a Roads and Traffic Authority staff member from the organisation's Grafton office had cautioned Coffs Harbour City Council and its consultant planners over where it puts new developments along the existing highway route.

The ABC stated that the RTA had told the council that the State and Federal governments were actively exploring a motorway option ? sometimes referred to as the Pacific Tollway.

Mr Moody, who is the technical officer for Pacific Highway action group WAR, said the ABC item reinforced comments made by NSW Roads Minister Eric Roozendaal during a meeting with the minister on March 30.

"We met with the minister and Andrew Fraser on March 30 and raised the issue of a proper bypass (of Coffs Harbour) and that we'd like a western motorway option explored," Mr Moody said.

"The minister said they were looking into it. It is encouraging the minister has asked the RTA to investigate the motorway option, but I think it is a fair way off."

Mr Moody said the predicted growth rate of traffic on the Pacific Highway was a real concern, and highlighted the need to examine upgrading of the Pacific Highway between Sapphire and Woolgoolga to cope with local traffic.

He again voiced concern over intersections such as Emerald Beach and Sapphire and the future impact of further development at Hearnes Lake and Moonee.

But a spokesman for the RTA has denied plans for a tollway.

"The RTAis not looking at a differnt bypass of Coffs Harbour and Woolgoolga to that previously announced," he said.



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