Traffic jam on the Pacific Hwy at Coffs Harbour.
Traffic jam on the Pacific Hwy at Coffs Harbour. Leigh Jensen

Make or break: 'Bypass must be included in Federal Budget'

IN THE lead-up to the Federal Budget, the case for the Coffs Harbour Bypass is reaching a critical point.

Nationals Member for Cowper, Luke Hartsuyker, today prompted his own government towards a funding commitment saying a commitment to the Coffs Harbour Bypass must be included in order to maximise the return on record investment in the Pacific Highway.

Mr Hartsuyker said he had been lobbying for government funding for the Bypass over an extended period of time.

"I met with Deputy Prime Minister McCormack within one week of him being sworn in as Minister for Infrastructure to brief him on the urgent need to fund the Bypass," Mr Hartsuyker said.

Mr Hartsuyker, Mayor Denise Knight and Council General Manager Steve McGrath last month met with the Deputy Prime Minister in Canberra to discuss the Bypass.

"The exponential increase of traffic through Coffs Harbour is becoming untenable, with 12 sets of traffic lights stopping trucks and motorists on our local streets," Mr Hartsuyker said.

"We have seen a 95 per cent reduction in road fatalities where dual-carriageway works have been completed. The Coffs Harbour Bypass will make our local roads safer."

Mr Hartsuyker said he had spoken to Deputy Prime Minister McCormack again today about the pressing need for funding.

"The draft routes for this project were first released in July 2001, nearly 17 years ago," Mr Hartsuyker said.

"Our community has waited for this Bypass for far too long.

"While there is more work to do before construction can start, it is absolutely vital the Coffs Harbour Bypass is funded in next month's federal budget so work can begin as quickly as possible."



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