Coffs Harbour MP Andrew Fraser.
Coffs Harbour MP Andrew Fraser.

Lives could have been saved: MP

LIVES could have been saved on the Pacific Highway had the Warrell Creek to Urunga upgrade followed the Bonville deviation.

That’s the sentiment of comments made by member for Coffs Harbour Andrew Fraser in the wake of this week’s carnage near the Hungry Head turn-off.

News of the latest road tragedy on Tuesday coincided with Roads Minister David Borger releasing details on the project’s development.

Public submissions to the environmental assessment plan have now been handed to the Department of Planning for consideration and made available for the public to view.

But in a scathing attack, Mr Fraser said RTA inaction had seen the highway project stall.

“The Urunga bypass was ready to commence on the completion of the Bonville bypass and I am at a loss to understand why there is not better planning by the State Government in relation to the Pacific Highway,” Mr Fraser said.

“I am fed up with excuses and poor management by the RTA. Planning for this section of the highway has been going on for some time and this still undivided section of the highway needs urgent attention,” he said.

The minister said the process had followed due course, since $3.6 billion had been provided by the State and Federal governments to progress planning, land acquisitions and geotechnical investigations.

When completed the upgrade will see a dual carriageway built between the existing Allgomera deviation south of Warrell Creek, to the Waterfall Way at Raleigh.

“A report has now been prepared on the submissions received and responses to issues raised during the environmental assessment phase,” Mr Borger said.

Mr Borger said the report includes an independent flooding review across the Gumma floodplain and recommendations for bridge sizes.

Prior to gaining project approval, the RTA says it will carry out further detailed flood modelling.

The Warrell Creek to Urunga Environmental Assessment Submissions and Preferred Project Report is now on display at the Nambucca and Bellingen shire council chambers.

The environmental assessment was opened to community comment between January and March.

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