Coffs Harbour Bypass - planning

The NSW Government is funding the planning of the Coffs Harbour bypass. The project includes around a 14 kilometre bypass of Coffs Harbour from Englands Road in the south and connects with the Pacific Highway at Sapphire in the north. The bypass seeks to improve connectivity, road transport efficiency and safety for local and interstate motorists.

Project background

Roads and Maritime Services has been investigating a Coffs Harbour bypass since 2001 as part of the Pacific Highway upgrade. The preferred route was announced in 2004 and the concept design report was published in 2008.

Since then funding priorities have targeted the full duplication of the Pacific Highway between Hexham and the Queensland border by 2020.

In March 2015 the NSW Government pledged $200 million for construction of the project, subject to a business case and significant funding from the Australian Government. The project has been allocated funding to carry out the environmental assessment and to finalise the concept design.

In December 2017, a strategic business case was submitted to the Australian Government to begin discussions about the project.

The preferred route

The preferred route for the Coffs Harbour bypass was confirmed in 2004 and provides a four lane divided motorway standard road from Englands Road in the south and connects with the newly upgraded Sapphire to Woolgoolga section in the north. The route passes through the North Boambee Valley, through the Roberts Hill ridgeline and then traverses the foothills of the Coffs Harbour basin west and north to Korora Hill.

Roads and Maritime will be seeking planning approval through carrying out the environmental impact statement on the preferred route.

Brief history of the project

  • December 2017: Strategic business case was submitted to the Australian Government to begin discussions about the project.
  • October 2017: Revised SEARs are issued to the project including guidelines for preparing assessment documentation relevant to the EPBC Act.
  • September 2017: The Department of Environment and Energy advised it is a controlled action and will require assessment and approval under the EPBC Act.
  • June 2017: submitted a referral to the Department of Environment and Energy under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).
  • August 2016: Community consultation was carried out on the preferred road corridor.
  • The Secretary’s Environmental Assessment Requirements (SEARs) issued to the project by the Department of Planning and Environment. You can view the report and the SEARs on the NSW Department of Planning and Environment’s website.
  • March 2016: Arup was awarded the contract to develop the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and finalise the concept design.
  • March 2016: RCA Australia was awarded the contract to carry out the geo-technical investigations for the project
  • July 2015: The NSW Government pledge $200 million towards construction of the bypass subject to a final business case and agreeing funding from the Australian Government
  • 2009: Coffs Harbour City Council preserve the road corridor in the Local Environmental Plan
  • April 2009: In response to submissions received during the concept design display, Roads and Maritime Services announced that it will retain the Luke Bowen footbridge
  • September 2008: Concept design announced and displayed for community comment
  • November 2007: Coffs Harbour Highway Planning Strategy Economic Analysis Update report release
  • November 2006: Geotechnical investigations carried out to further refine the road corridor
  • December 2004: Preferred route was announced as part of the Coffs Harbour Highway Planning Strategy
  • February 2004: Route options announced including a review of a proposal submitted by the community for a western bypass corridor, known as the Coastal Ridgeway
  • September 2001: Coffs Harbour Highway Planning Strategy was announced to address the need to upgrade the Pacific Highway between Sapphire and Woolgoolga, while planning for future traffic need within the Coffs Harbour urban area.

Property acquisition

Roads and Maritime has purchased about 44 per cent of properties required for the project.

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