Pledge made to finally get ball rolling on Coffs bypass
THE long-awaited Coffs Harbour bypass has been put back on the political agenda, with the New South Wales Coalition pledging $200 million towards the project if it is returned to government.
NSW Deputy Premier Troy Grant said the state would invest $200 million or one-fifth of the total project costs, with the Federal Government picking up the $800 million shortfall.
The funds would come from NSW's $20 billion infrastructure budget, sourced from the proposed privatisation of electricity assets.
"A bypass of Coffs Harbour has been on the cards for years but only the NSW Liberals and Nationals government has a plan to deliver it," Mr Grant said.
He said the Coalition had spent $2 billion to fast-track Pacific Hwy upgrades since coming to power in 2011.
The bypass will be a 12km four-lane dual carriageway from south of Englands Rd to Korora Hill north of Coffs Harbour.
North Coast Minister Duncan Gay said it would remove a "notorious pinch point" from the highway by taking traffic - especially trucks - out of Coffs Harbour's busy town centre.
"NSW Labor should have built a Coffs Harbour bypass more than a decade ago but as everyone knows; Labor on the Mid North Coast has always been a road to no-where," Mr Gay said.
The exact preferred route still has to be finalised over the coming months and the funding allocation will be subject to a final business case.
Mr Gay also announced the government was on track to meeting its promised $277 million investment into upgrading grain rail lines in regional NSW.
"Since July 2012, the Liberals and Nationals government has spent $192 million, or 70% of the overall investment program," he said.