Construction on the Pacific Hwy Nambucca Heads to Urunga section.
Construction on the Pacific Hwy Nambucca Heads to Urunga section. David Barwell

Field investigations for bypass starting

FIELD investigations on the Coffs Harbour bypass will begin today.

Roads and Maritime Services will carry out site inspections and walkovers this week to assist with planning the project's geotechnical investigations.

An RMS spokesperson said the planned bypass was aimed at improving road safety, cutting down travel time and improving accessibility to the central business district.

"The project includes a 14km motorway upgrade to the Pacific Hwy and connects Englands Rd in the south with the newly upgraded Sapphire to Woolgoolga section in the north," the spokesperson said.

"Once complete, the bypass would provide unrestricted travel flow through Coffs Harbour and remove one of the last remaining bottlenecks on the Pacific Hwy."

Today's field investigation will focus on the proposed tunnel areas near Gatelys Rd and Shephards Ln.

Geotechnical engineering firm RCA Australia was awarded the contract in March to carry out the investigations to inform the design features in the refined concept design.

Further investigations will be carried out in coming months to inform the environmental assessment being prepared on the preferred route.

The route, which was confirmed in 2004, provides a four-lane divided motorway from Englands Rd through the North Boambee Valley, the Roberts Hill ridgeline and traversing the foothills of the Coffs Harbour basin west and north to Korora Hill, connecting with the Sapphire to Woolgoolga section in the north.

The road corridor was preserved by Coffs Harbour City Council in the Local Environment Plan in 2009, with the NSW Government pledging $200 million towards the project last year.

Design and engineering firm Arup was announced last month as the successful tenderer to develop an environmental impact statement for the bypass and finalise its concept design.

"The Coffs Harbour Bypass is a critical state infrastructure project and we thank the community for their patience during this time," the RMS spokesperson said.



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