Beware of Labor's misleading signposts on Coffs Bypass
DON'T be fooled by Labor's over-inflated claims about the Coffs Harbour Bypass and politically-motivated misrepresentations about the public consultation process and estimated costs.
A draft concept design for this $1.2 billion project has been released for public consultation and is gathering community feedback to optimise outcomes via a thorough and transparent process.
This involves community members having their fair say to help shape final outcomes on this transformational project for the Coffs Harbour region.
During this process, the Federal and State Liberal and Nationals' Governments are continuing to take advice and one of the strongest messages we've heard from the local community is that they want us to get on with the job of building their Bypass, which is exactly what we're doing.
At a proposed cost of about $100 million per kilometre of duplication, this investment represents the most expensive component of the Pacific Highway project and it therefore requires diligent and strategic planning, to reach the best result.
The Bypass will remove trucks and heavy vehicles from the main street of Coffs, to improve traffic flow and enhance road safety and efficiency; benefitting the local community and other Pacific Highway users well into the future.
This new route will bypass up to 12 sets of traffic lights, saving up to 12 minutes in travel time; creating easier, faster and safer journeys, whilst boosting freight efficiency.
In preparation, a range of important works are being undertaken, including; geotechnical investigations; traffic modelling; field investigations; community consultation; refining the concept design; and examination of environmental, hydrological, heritage and Aboriginal cultural considerations.
A comprehensive Environmental Impact Statement will also be released next year and it will be subject to further community consultations.
Construction will commence in 2020 with the Bypass scheduled to open to traffic in 2024, weather permitting.
This responsible process reflects the normal time-frames required to undertake detailed design, environmental assessment and community consultation prior to construction starting on a project of this magnitude.
In contrast, all Labor has created are three word slogans while launching scare campaigns ahead of the upcoming State and Federal elections.
What Labor won't say is some heavy vehicles transporting dangerous goods can't use long tunnels, meaning they'd be forced to travel through Coffs Harbour.
What Labor won't say is that, like St Helena, twice a year all traffic would be funnelled back down the old highway through the centre of town to pass all those houses which have suffered with noise and the dust for too long.
What Labor won't say is that they announced this project in 2001, 2004 and 2008 and did nothing.
But if elected, Labor's tactics will only succeed in delaying the Coffs Harbour Bypass due to a disingenuous quest for attention-grabbing election stunts.
What Labor also won't say, in demanding a Rolls-Royce version of the Coffs Bypass with cheap disregard for community safety, is that the local community will also be forced to pay for it in other ways.
As they always do, Labor will gradually increase taxes and creep up bureaucratic costs and charges on individuals and businesses, while cutting essential services for regional Australians, to try to rescue mismanaged budgets.
During these times, regional Australians are always sacrificed to serve Labor's dominant metropolitan-driven interests so they can stay on track with their mates in the Greens.
But unlike Labor, The Nationals are the only true rural political party which proudly stands up and fights for the needs and wants of regional Australians, with the Coffs Harbour Bypass reflective of this long-standing commitment.
While Labor is trying to deceive the local community into thinking this is a done deal parked at a red light, the Bypass design is open for community feedback via Roads and Maritime Services and all sensible views motivated by public concerns and interests, not cheap political stunts, are being welcomed.