Let us see the details of western plans: WAR

By BELINDA SCOTT

HIGHWAY campaigners are pleased to see some movement on a far western alternative route for the Pacific Highway bypass of Coffs Harbour and Woolgoolga, but they want to see further clarification.

"We're pleased they're moving in that direction but I'm concerned about the reference to an 'independent' study," said spokesman for the Woolgoolga Area Residents (WAR) group, Steve Moody.

"It has to be completely independent," Mr Moody said.

"I'm also concerned that Hartsuyker's statement conflicts with Mark Vaile's earlier statement that 'we provide the funds and the RTA provide the details' and the drawings they put out do not match the statement the diagram shows the bypass 'going around Coffs Harbour and coming into Woolgoolga'."

Mr Moody, also a representative of the Bypass Action Network, said previous 'independent' studies by the RTA, like that which compared a Summerland Way bypass route with a coastal route had not been supported by the technical data and it could have been argued that the Summerland Way route was more viable.

He said examinations of the Orara Way in 2002-2004 had not taken B-doubles or the projected tripling of freight through the area by 2020 into account in saying the cost-benefit could not be justified for the far western route.

He said the new study should involve community participation and use local civil engineers qualified in the field who did not have financial commitments to the RTA as well as civil engineers outside the area to look at the route objectively.

He said WAR supported the extension of the style of highway now in place from Sapphire through to Woolgoolga and there were several sections of the highway between Woolgoolga and Ballina that were single lane, very dangerous and in need of improvement.

"All the RTA plans talk about dual carriageway but the news release talks about safety upgrades it needs clarification," he said.

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