David Barwell

Coffs Harbour bypass now considered a national priority

WITH a report released by Infrastructure Australia listing a Coffs Harbour bypass as a national priority, pressure is once again on the governments to provide funding for the project.

Cowper MP Luke Hartsuyker said he's already had discussions with the incoming Infrastructure and Transport Minister Darren Chester regarding the issue in a push to accelerate action on planning, funding and construction of the $1 billion project.

The north and western sections of the proposed Coffs Harbour bypass route as it appears on the RMS website.
The north and western sections of the proposed Coffs Harbour bypass route as it appears on the RMS website.

"I made it very clear to Mr Chester even before being sworn in as the minister, that we need to get moving on planning the start of the Coffs Harbour Bypass construction," Mr Hartsuyker said.

"I have invited Mr Chester to the Cowper electorate to see first-hand how the Coffs Harbour pinch-point cripples mobility across the city and impinges freight movement across the state.

"We have one of the worst stretches of congested roads in New South Wales, and I've made it clear to Mr Chester we are a priority project - we cannot be left the only city not bypassed when the Pacific Highway Upgrade is finished."

Mr Hartsuyker that the visit to Coffs Harbour yesterday by opposition spokesperson for Infrastructure and Transport Anthony Albanese was full of bluster but not much substance.

The Federal Member for Cowper said Mr Albanese refused to even commit to the Coffs Harbour Bypass, despite the preferred route being locked in, significant numbers of properties acquired and concept plans being developed.

"It is clear that Labor and Mr Albanese do not care about the traffic gridlock in our city and have no interest in building a Coffs Harbour bypass," Mr Hartsuyker said.

"The Coffs Harbour bypass will dramatically improve traffic flow, road safety and revitalise our city centre by freeing it of traffic gridlock caused by the highway and traffic lights.

"The bypass will also form an important part of the local road system.

"The highway project is powering ahead and it is important that the Coffs Harbour bypass work starts as soon as possible."