By MEL MARTIN
STEVE Moody warns that Coffs Coast residents close to the Roads and Traffic Authority's preferred bypass route would greatly suffer should the RTA get their way.
A recent article in the Lismore Northern Star highlighted the plight of Yelgun residents Paul and Jill Rogers who say their home is falling down around them because of highway construction work less than 100 metres away.
The Rogers said that since November, cracks had appeared on the brickwork and the interior of their home, including bathroom tiling and windows.
An independent geotechnical engineer's inspection revealed damage to the Rogers' home had been caused by vibrations generated by heavy machinery involved in the adjacent highway upgrade.
But while the RTA says an independent building inspector had found the damage to be pre-existing and that it had offered the Rogers noise mitigation measures, Mr Moody, the technical officer for Woolgoolga Area Residents (WAR) and the Bypass Action Network (BAN), is not convinced.
"The plight of Yelgun residents concerning the destruction of their home due to the Yelgun to Chinderah Pacific Highway upgrade is a warning for Coffs Harbour and the northern beaches," Mr Moody said.
"This is hard evidence of the RTA not doing the right thing for people truly affected by the construction works, and is a warning to Coffs Harbour and northern beaches residents if the RTA get their preferred highway upgrade option."
Mr Moody said the RTA preferred highway upgrade option would involve 60-metre cuts through the hills around Coffs Harbour, and the deviation around Woolgoolga would involve 14-metre deep cuttings and 23-metre embankments, as well as tunnels.
"These are massive excavations through hard rock, and as with the Rogers, it will involve explosives and heavy earth moving equipment that will feel like earth tremors to anyone within a few hundred metres of the planned route," he said.
"So it's not just the finished product Coffs Coast residents need to worry about, it's the four years of construction that will cause noise, dust, and traffic delays on the highway. The impact will be enormous."
Mr Moody said he drove on the Yelgun to Chinderah highway upgrade and that despite the highway being opened in 2002, noise barriers were only just being erected.
He has written to the new Roads Minister Eric Roozendaal in February reiterating that only a minor upgrade of the existing highway should be done and that a proper bypass west of the coastal ranges and away from residential communities should be constructed.
The RTA were still preparing a response at time of print.