A strategic business case for the 14 kilometre bypass of Coffs Harbour has been endorsed by Infrastructure NSW and submitted to the Australian Government, signalling an important milestone in the planning process.
Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight and Member for Oxley Melinda Pavey said the existing Pacific Highway through Coffs Harbour forms part of the Sydney to Brisbane freight corridor and carries up to 35,000 vehicles each day.
“Currently all road users including truckies need to navigate a 12 kilometre low speed road with 12 sets of traffic lights, a major roundabout and 26 intersections,” Mrs Pavey said.
“A bypass of Coffs Harbour would not only reduce congestion across the city, but improve travel times by up to 11 minutes as well as returning the CBD to local traffic.”
Federal Member for Cowper Luke Hartsuyker said in the next 20 years, almost 77 per cent of expected population growth on the North Coast of NSW will be in the regional cities, like Coffs Harbour.
“This is why it’s so important planning for this major piece of infrastructure continues, so the Pacific Highway meets the needs of the community and freight industry well into the future,” Mr Hartsuyker said.
“A bypass would improve connectivity issues between Sydney and Brisbane and help support Coffs Harbour’s tourism industry and the nationally significant blueberry industry.”
New South Wales Member for Coffs Harbour Andrew Fraser said the NSW Government has committed $200 million towards the Coffs Harbour bypass, subject to a final business case and Federal funding.
“The preferred route for the bypass has been preserved in Coffs Harbour City Council’s Local Environmental Plan and has received State Significant Infrastructure status,” Mr Fraser said.
“The NSW Government is seeking a funding commitment from the Australian Government to start building the project in 2020, as currently scheduled, post completion of the $4.3 billion Woolgoolga to Ballina upgrade.”
Roads and Maritime Services will continue to refine the project design and prepare the environmental impact statement which is expected to go on public display in 2018.