Bypass Group Concerned About Dangerous Materials After Release Of Risk Assessment

The Coffs Bypass Action Group meet at the West Coffs Reserve. Photo: Andrew Vivian.

 

MARINA Rockett formed the Coffs Bypass Action Group with two friends after the first viewing of the preliminary ‘Preferred Concept Design’ in September 2018.

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She said that the community was horrified because promised tunnels had been changed to cuttings.

She formalised the group after a meeting attended by hundreds of people in October 2018.

Currently 600 people currently follow the group’s Facebook page.

Ms Rockett is also one of seven community representatives on the Coffs Harbour Bypass Community Consultative Committee.

The group said they have been trying for two years to obtain all documents relating to the Coffs Harbour Bypass from Transport for New South Wales (TfNSW).

After obtaining a draft risk assessment, conducted by Aurecon, they say that their misgivings have been realised.

Group member Rod McKelvey said the most recent comment from the government is that all dangerous goods will remain on the Pacific Highway.

However, Mr. McKelvey pointed out that the Executive Summary of the risk assessment states ‘Based on this comparative assessment, it is recommended to provide a bypass and to allow all classes of dangerous goods except Class 1 to use the bypass.’

Ms Rockett said that all ‘Dangerous Goods Vehicles’ except for Class 1 (explosives) and Class 2.1 (flammable gases) are allowed to use the St. Helena Tunnel at Byron Bay which is a similar length to the tunnels proposed for Coffs Harbour.

According to Ms Rockett, “Most people do not realise that less than 20 trucks of Class 1 and Class 2.1 enter Coffs each day, and some of them have to deliver their goods anyway”.

If the group is successful in getting its message across to the government, all other trucks, except those actually delivering to Coffs Harbour, will go on the bypass, and this includes petrol tankers.

Mr McKelvey said, “There is no argument, for the safety of Coffs Harbour residents, to get all dangerous goods, except Class 1, off the existing route through Coffs Harbour and put them on the bypass with properly constructed tunnels”.

 

By Andrew VIVIAN

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