Minister is keen to hit the road to see bypass route
NEW Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Darren Chester won't be bypassing Coffs Harbour.
The Coffs Coast Advocate reported on Wednesday that Cowper MP Luke Hartsuyker was planning a visit by Mr Chester so he could see first-hand the proposed route.
A spokesperson from Mr Chester's office said daily discussions were being held between the two parties to lock in a date.
"Mr Hartsuyker has been in discussions with Mr Chester and has briefed him already in Canberra on the project," the spokesperson said.
"A visit to the electorate is high on the priority list."
Mr Chester has been in the minister's role for four weeks but the former Infrastructure and Transport Minister, Warren Truss, made a similar visit to Coffs Harbour in November.
Mr Truss said he expected construction work on a Coffs Harbour bypass to begin immediately after the Woolgoolga to Ballina upgrade of the Pacific Hwy was completed.
"That means we'll have to do advance work a year or two beforehand so you'll start seeing some kind of progress in this area about 2018/2019," Mr Truss said at the time.
Opposition Infrastructure and Transport spokesperson Anthony Albanese has been critical of the government's spending on the Pacific Hwy upgrade.
He claimed last year that in the final budget delivered by the then Labor Government, $672 million was committed to the project for 2015/16. He said the Coalition had reduced that figure to $542 million.