An artist's impression of what the second phase redevelopment of Coffs Central would look like when completed.
An artist's impression of what the second phase redevelopment of Coffs Central would look like when completed.

Harbour Dr retailers assured road won’t close for lights

TRAFFIC on Harbour Dr will be blocked only at the intersection of Gordon St during reconstruction work to install traffic lights next year.

Gowings chief executive officer Garth Grundy said it was wrong to say Harbour Dr would be closed while the intersection was reconfigured.

He said a turning bay near City Square would allow vehicles in and out of the area throughout the period of works. He said the closure could even be partial and may only last for four weeks, although an eight-week period had been allowed for.

Gowings, which has signed a voluntary planning agreement with Coffs Harbour City Council, will carry out the work on the intersection, as well as on adjoining pavements and roadway, as part of its development approval for extensions to Coffs Central shopping centre.

Gowings will also pay about one-third of the cost.

A bypass road through Pioneer Park will take city centre traffic around the eastern side of the construction worksite, which will also close Gordon St between Vernon St and Harbour Dr.

Mr Grundy was upset some retailers felt they had not been consulted about the plans.

He said the development application for the Gowings extension, which included the traffic lights and other work on public land as a condition of the DA, received not a single objection when it was advertised for eight weeks in 2012.

"These public works are not my initiative," Mr Grundy said.

"But they will benefit the whole CBD and reduce flooding by 400mm."

Mr Grundy said he was initially opposed to the traffic lights but had become convinced they were the best solution.

He said four community workshops conducted by the city centre masterplan committee had identified both traffic lights and the Duke St bypass as projects that would improve pedestrian connectivity and reduce city centre congestion.

A model of the intersection has been on display in Coffs Central intermittently for 18 months and media outlets have published photo montages of the proposed intersection.

Mr Grundy said a consultation survey this month of landlords and retailers on the proposed closure of the intersection had received overwhelming support.

He said only 15 of the 366 landlords, retailers and staff had objected to the closure.

He was hopeful the works would finish early.

"We are hoping for just a four-week closure and just a partial closure," Mr Grundy said.