CUT AND COVER: Roads and Maritime Services proposed landbridge construction at Roberts Hill, where tunnels will now be considered by the new community consultative committee.
CUT AND COVER: Roads and Maritime Services proposed landbridge construction at Roberts Hill, where tunnels will now be considered by the new community consultative committee. Roads and Maritime Services

Oakeshott calls for concrete plans on bypass

INDEPENDENT candidate for Cowper Rob Oakeshott has labelled the State Nationals move to reconsider tunnels on the Coffs Harbour Bypass through a new community consultative committee' as 'an embarrassing admission by those who hold all the cards, that they have not been honest.'

Mr Oakeshott levelled claims that after six years of The Nationals in government there were 'still no concrete highway plans.'

He did so after meeting with the Coffs Harbour Bypass Action Group pledging his support to campaign for tunnels at the Roberts Hill, Gatelys Rd and Shephards Lane sections where landbridges and a cutting have been proposed by the Roads and Maritime Services' Coffs Harbour Bypass project team.

"The Nationals do not need a committee to advise them that the construction of three tunnels is a must. Three tunnels were recommended in the Connell Wagner report in 2008," Mr Oakeshott said.

Independent candidate for Cowper Rob Oakeshott.
Independent candidate for Cowper Rob Oakeshott. David Barwell

"Those with all the levers of government should fix these problems now. Otherwise, the ballot box will speak." 

He called on the government to deliver a project timeline and an exact date for when the Coffs Bypass Environmental Impact Statement would be publicly released.

Previously the governments had floated a pre-Christmas release date, but that was later changed to mid-2019, which opponents to the current concept design have highlighted would be after the State Election on March 23.

Roads Minister Melinda Pavey.
Roads Minister Melinda Pavey.

Roads, Maritime and Freight Minister Melinda Pavey confirmed the RMS Coffs Harbour Bypass project team would release the Environmental Impact Statement in June/July.

"We are rolling out a process that is the same for all other infrastructure projects," Mrs Pavey said.

"The Connell Wagner report was done 10 years ago and provided forward a concept design.

"We have now more experience in building highways and have brought together experts and technology, which will deliver the best road for the taxpayers."    



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