Bypass business case headed to Canberra
COWPER MP Luke Hartsuyker has two important entries in his diary for today. One is to be sworn into his new Assistant Minister's position at Government House in Canberra and the second, and most important, is to hand over a strategic business case for the Coffs Harbour Bypass.
Mr Harstuyker will be handing over a document believed to be about 500 pages in length to new Minister for Infrastructure Barnaby Joyce.
In Coffs Harbour this morning, the NSW Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight Melinda Pavey along with Member for Coffs Harbour Andrew Fraser announced the business plan for the 14km bypass of Coffs Harbour had been endorsed by Infrastructure NSW and submitted to the Australian Government.
Mrs Pavey said submitting the business case is a boost towards the NSW Government attaining the goal of having construction work on the Coffs Harbour Bypass starting in 2020 which is basically the second half of building a road.
"Half the time in building these big projects is taken up in planning and doing that homework," Mrs Pavey said.
"Ding the EIS's (Environmental Impact Statements), doing the tendering, doing all of those things that you need to do to get the graders on site."
Mr Fraser said the submission of this plan won't stop him continuing to put pressure on the powers that be in Canberra to ensure planning for the project estimated to cost somewhere in the vicinity of $1billion continues.
"My first call on the list tomorrow will be to Barnaby Joyce," Mr Fraser said.
"I know Barnaby is supportive of the project but at the end of the day I want to make sure these budget allocations now that he is Minister for Infrastructure, or soon will be, we will get his support. I give you that guarantee."
Mrs Pavey said building a road around Coffs Harbour is more technical than the majority of bypasses.
"It's not an easy bypass. It's not a simple project," she said.
RMS Pacific Highway Manager Bob Higgins said recent studies means he's able to offer a time frame on how long it will take to finalise construction of the massive project.
"We've done some preliminary work to suggest it takes us about three to four years," Mr Higgins said.
"A lot depends on what it looks like at the end, tunnels versus cuttings and all that."