The Coffs Coast Advocate

RTA hears plea to save footbridge

“HATS off to the RTA.”

That's what Korora resident Anne Kennett said about the RTA's decision to keep the Luke Bowen footbridge right where it is when construction gets underway on the Coffs Harbour Bypass.

Ms Kennett said the decision was 'fantastic news'.

“It comes as a great relief to residents and the school that the RTA have given such a definite decision,” she said.

“This really shows you that when enough people feel strongly about something and make themselves heard, you can make a change.”

Ms Kennett is referring to the amazing 75 per cent of submissions to the bypass plan received by the RTA that favoured the need to retain the Luke Bowen footbridge.

The footbridge, which is named after Kororo Public School student Luke Bowen who was tragically killed in a motorcycle accident in 1997, spans the Pacific Highway and provides safe access between communities on either side and between the school and the bus interchange.

When the original bypass plan was released in October last year, residents were in an uproar, with many claiming the loss of the footbridge would 'cut the community in half'.

But after such a strong response to the bypass plan, the RTA has decided to keep the pedestrian access right where it is.

However, the RTA did say that the existing footbridge is not long enough to span the proposed upgrade.

“So we'll either extend the existing footbridge or build a new one, that is yet to be decided, and it is proposed to keep the name, the Luke Bowen footbridge, for the crossing,” an RTA spokesperson said.

The entire project will provide a new four lane divided highway bypass of Coffs Harbour and will also upgrade the existing highway between the northern end of the bypass and the southern end of the Sapphire to Woolgoolga upgrade.

The RTA said they will approach Coffs Harbour City Council to take planning action to formally reserve the corridor for the project, and timing of final project approvals and construction will then depend on funding availability.

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