An artist's impression of Shephards Lane tunnel.
An artist's impression of Shephards Lane tunnel.

All aboard: Feds give final tick of approval

THE Coffs Harbour Bypass has been given the green light from the Federal Government.

It follows the recent approval from the State Government.

FULL STORY: State govt gives Coffs Bypass the green light

Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley assessed the project which will be Coffs Harbour's biggest ever infrastructure project.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the 14-kilometre bypass is one of the 15 major projects the Federal Government committed to fast-tracking in June this year.

"The bypass is going to take more than 12,000 vehicles a day out of the centre of Coffs Harbour, reduce travel times by as much as 12 minutes by bypassing 12 sets of traffic lights, and improve safety for all road users," the Deputy Prime Minister said.

The Coffs Harbour community has been waiting for decades for a bypass.
The Coffs Harbour community has been waiting for decades for a bypass.

Despite Mr McCormack's claims the project has been fast-tracked, Coffs Harbour is the last major town to be bypassed along the upgraded Pacific Highway.

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Mr McCormack has confirmed the approval includes the proposed tunnels at Roberts Hill, Shephards Lane and Gatelys Road.

The project was also assessed for its social, environmental, heritage and economic impacts.

NSW Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Paul Toole said the Pacific Highway was a major contributor to Australia's economy, and the Coffs Harbour bypass would be a key link in this vital piece of the nation's infrastructure.

"This bypass alone will support about 12,000 jobs over the whole life-cycle of the project, providing about 2000 local jobs for the community of Coffs Harbour during construction, which shows how serious we are about investment in regional NSW," Mr Toole said.

"The local community has played a huge role in developing this project - from helping shape the design for the bypass to engaging with the experts in the field to ensure we can get on with the job of delivering on our promise."

Community campaign: Coffs Harbour City Council's vehicle fleet was fitted with stickers calling for tunnels on the Coffs bypass - not cuttings and landbridges.
Community campaign: Coffs Harbour City Council's vehicle fleet was fitted with stickers calling for tunnels on the Coffs bypass - not cuttings and landbridges.

Federal Member for Cowper Pat Conaghan said now planning approval had been received, the benefits of the Federal and State Liberal-Nationals Governments investment in the biggest infrastructure project the region had ever seen could be realised.

"The Nationals in Government are delivering record support for job-creating, economy-boosting infrastructure," Mr Conaghan said.

"This bypass is 80 per cent funded by the Federal Government and it will deliver major benefits to local businesses, contractors and suppliers for years to come."

Coffs Harbour MP Gurmesh Singh.
Coffs Harbour MP Gurmesh Singh.

State Member for Coffs Harbour Gurmesh Singh said getting the official tick to move forward was exciting news for the community, which will see things happening immediately, with noise treatments and utility relocations ready to go straight away.

"So many locals have told me they just want to see the bypass built and this next step ushers in a new phase, bringing a vital boost to the local economy while construction is underway," Mr Singh said.

The project is expected to take around five years to build, weather permitting.