BEFORE AND AFTER: Changes of the $1.8 billion Coffs bypass
COFFS Harbour locals have just under a week to have their say on the $1.8 billion Coffs Harbour Bypass - the city's largest ever infrastructure project.
Submissions to the Roads and Maritime Service's Environmental Impact Statement close on Sunday, October 27.
Federal Member for Cowper Pat Conaghan said the community had been active during the six-week Environmental Impact Statement public exhibition period.
"We've seen a great turnout with locals flocking to the Coffs bypass project display office, keen to understand the project's tunnels, route and design," Mr Conaghan said.
"While considering the detail, it's important to remember the major improvement the bypass will deliver for motorists, and the local economy, with 12,000 direct and indirect jobs generated over the project's life.
State Member for Coffs Harbour Gurmesh Singh said the bypass remained on track to see a start to early works next year.
"We're delivering on our election commitments, having introduced tunnels, lowered the road, and reduced the height of the bypass from just north of the Coramba Rd interchange to just north of the Gately's Road tunnel," Mr Singh said.
"Once complete, the bypass will remove up to 12,000 vehicles a day from our CBD, making Coffs Harbour an even better place to live, work, and visit.
The Coffs Bypass Action Group has delved into the finer detail of the Roads and Maritime Service's EIS.
"We have been working around the clock to find the main issues within the thousands of pages of the EIS," CBAG spokesman Rod McKelvey said.
"We have then created draft letters on various issues that people can utilise to create their own submission and get it into the RMS on time.
Mr McKelvey was critical of the amount of time given to the community to respond.
"To us it is incredible that we have so little time for what is an enormous project and the most technical outside of Sydney for NSW," Mr McKelvey said.
"We are also concerned that people have heard the EIS includes tunnels and so think the battle is over.
"Though we welcome the tunnels, which we have been assured will not be removed under any circumstances, there are many other issues of concern.
He said regulations over dangerous goods trucks using the tunnels were one example.
"The St Helena Tunnels, just north of us take all dangerous goods vehicles other than Class 1 and Class 2.1 but this EIS is saying all types of dangerous goods will be excluded from the tunnels," he said.
"We do not understand why Coffs Harbour would need to be treated differently to St Helena near Byron Bay, when in fact, all dangerous goods, including Class 1 and Class 2.1 would be far better off going via the tunnels, which have systems that would handle any fires so much better than the open road through town.
"We also have concerns with the way the noise figures have been handled and are calling for an independent audit on the noise side of things.
"Some areas, for example, the Roselands Estate have been left out all together and this is not a detailed design so we need to see a fully detailed design with a construct only contract. The best is yet to be put on the table."
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More information about the Coffs Harbour bypass EIS click here or visit
Tuesday, October 22, 10am to 2pm - Moonee Market, 2B Moonee Beach Rd