Coffs Bypass, most costly per kilometre Pacific Hwy project

Roads and Maritime Services has released the concept design for the Coffs Harbour Pacific Highway Bypass including two land bridges and a cutting.
Roads and Maritime Services has released the concept design for the Coffs Harbour Pacific Highway Bypass including two land bridges and a cutting.

IT WILL span just 14-kilometres, but the Coffs Harbour Bypass will prove the most expensive upgrade per kilometre in the history of the Pacific Highway.  

A draft concept design for the $1.2 billion upgrade was released today, with indications it will cost almost $100-million for a kilometre of work.  

However, the Roads and Maritime Services' draft plan of design does not incorporate long tunnels, but rather two land bridge design options for both Roberts Hill and Gatelys Rd and a cutting for the top of Shephards Lane.   

Noticeable alterations have been made to the Connell Wagner bypass proposal put forward to in 2004.  

On Thursday the community will get an in-depth look at those alterations with the first of three community information sessions being held at the Coffs Harbour Golf Club.   

Artist impression of one possible land bridge option at Roberts Hill. This image is indicative only and subject to further refinement
Artist impression of one possible land bridge option at Roberts Hill. This image is indicative only and subject to further refinement RMS

"When you are constructing a $1.2 billion project it's not without impact on a community, but I understand the community is sick of the noise of trucks going through the main street and the disruption and the safety concerns," NSW Roads, Maritime and Freight Minister Melinda Pavey said.

"It's also important to point out with this design there will still be two tunnel arrangements and one cutting.  

The proposed land bridges would be similar to the structure that was built at Bonville. 

Another option for Gatelys Rd.
Another option for Gatelys Rd.

Ms Pavey said long tunnels would not be accessible by trucks carrying dangerous materials.   

"We can not have a situation where we limit the trucks being able to use the bypass (through tunnels) we want to ensure the heavy vehicles carrying dangerous goods can use the bypass."   

After today's concept design launch, by Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack and Federal Member for Cowper Luke Hartsuyker, members of the RMS project design team began door knocking and contacting residents whose properties are situated along the route.   

An  artist's impression of the Shephards Lane cutting.
An artist's impression of the Shephards Lane cutting. RMS

It is understood a few hundred homes, predominantly in the West Coffs area will require noise mitigation works, while a further 90-odd properties will be acquired, with the government having purchased around 50% of the properties needed to construct the road corridor.   

The concept design for the bypass has been released. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack, Federal Member for Cowper Luke Hartsuyker and NSW Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight and Member for Oxley Melinda Pavey.
The concept design for the bypass has been released. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack, Federal Member for Cowper Luke Hartsuyker and NSW Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight and Member for Oxley Melinda Pavey. Rachel Vercoe

 "This is the most expensive part of the Pacific Highway project running at a cost of almost $100-million a kilometre, this is massively expensive infrastructure it's a huge investment in Coffs Harbour - people want the trucks out of the main street," Federal Member for Cowper Luke Hartsuyker said.   

Mr McCormack urged Coffs Harbour residents to attend one of the three community information sessions at the Coffs Harbour Golf Club starting on Thursday.  

Alternatively the public can have it's say via the link to the RMS project page on our website.     

"I know it's been something the community has asked for demanded, expected and deserved for decades and it's happening," Mr McCormack said.   

The Environmental Impact Statement for the project is set to be released in December.   

A road bridge design.
A road bridge design. RMS

"This is the most expensive part of the Pacific Highway project running at a cost of almost $100-million a kilometre, this is massively expensive infrastructure it's a huge investment in Coffs Harbour - people want the trucks out of the main street," Mr Hartsuyker said.

Mr McCormack urged Coffs Harbour residents to attend one of the three community information sessions at the Coffs Harbour Golf Club starting this week.

The sessions will be held on:

  • Thursday from 4pm to 7pm. 
  • Saturday, October 13 from 9am to noon
  • Thursday, October 18 from 4pm to 7pm.
An option for Roberts Hill.
An option for Roberts Hill.

Alternatively the public can have it's say via the link to the RMS project page on our website.

 

The Englands Rd interchange.
The Englands Rd interchange. RMS

"I know it's been something the community has asked for demanded, expected and deserved for decades and it's happening," Mr McCormack said.

The Environmental Impact Statement for the project is set to be released in December.

KEY POINTS ON RMS CONCEPT DESIGN REPORT

Q: Why are long tunnels not being built?

A: Long tunnels at Gatelys Road and Shephards Lane have not been included in the preferred concept design.

By not including long tunnels, all dangerous goods vehicles not servicing Coffs Harbour will travel on the bypass and not through Coffs Harbour residential and urban areas.

Q: What is a land bridge?

Land bridges allow fauna connectivity and maintain the surrounding landform but avoid the need for a managed tunnel system. A land bridge is typically less than 80 metres long with vegetation growing on top such as the one on the Pacific Highway at Bonville.

Replacing the existing roundabout with traffic lights

Coramba Road

There have been no refinements to this interchange.

Korora Hill

Refinements include:

• A single roundabout connecting James Small Drive, the local service road and the southbound exit ramp

• Traffic lights to manage traffic from the northbound exit ramp and the southbound entry ramp

• Bridging the southbound exit ramp over the connection to James Small Drive.

Cuttings

Geotechnical investigations were carried out across the project alignment from late 2016 to mid-2017.

These investigations have been used to inform the concept design and refine the project cost estimate.

Key outcomes of the geotechnical investigations were:

• The geology along the bypass alignment comprises hard to very hard rock

• The rock is fractured, however it is tightly holding ground water

• Processing of the rock would be required to make it suitable for use in construction of the bypass

• Extensive use of shotcrete and other stabilisation methods (e.g. rock bolts) would be required for cuttings that were steeper than 2:1 (two metre horizontal for every one metre vertical). 

The Korora Interchange.
The Korora Interchange.



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