Shortlisted companies announced for $1.8B Coffs Harbour bypass

EIS artists impression of the bypass at Shephards Lane tunnel.

Construction on the Coffs Harbour bypass, the biggest infrastructure project in Coffs Harbour’s history, is a step closer to commencing with the shortlist of companies invited to tender for construction announced yesterday.

CPB Webuild Joint Venture, Acciona Seymour Whyte Joint Venture and Gamuda Ferrovial Joint Venture have been selected to take part in the tender process, which will be finalised by the end of the year with the successful contractor to be announced in mid-2022.

The project includes upgrading around 14 kilometres of the Pacific Highway at Coffs Harbour, starting from south of Englands Road roundabout and finishing at the southern end of the Sapphire to Woolgoolga project.

The Australian Government has committed to fund 80 per cent of the $1.8 billion Coffs Harbour Bypass project, up to $1.46 billion. The NSW Government is funding the remainder of the project.

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce said the announcement moved Coffs Harbour and the surrounding region a step closer to realising the benefits of this economy-boosting project.

“The Coffs Harbour bypass project is going to change this region forever, helping to connect communities and improve safety, while creating jobs and supporting our economic recovery,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.

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.

The Coffs Harbour bypass project received planning approval from the NSW Minister of Planning and Public Spaces on the 9 November 2020. The Federal Minister for the Environment subsequently approved the project in December 2020. With planning approval received and Conditions of Approval (CoA) met, early work for the Coffs Harbour bypass has started.

Deputy Premier and New South Wales Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Paul Toole said this was a significant step towards a project that will transform the region.

“This will be the biggest infrastructure project in Coffs Harbour’s history, removing more than 12,000 vehicles a day from the centre of town, bypassing 12 sets of lights and saving around 11 minutes in travel time,” Mr Toole said.

“The improvements in congestion and safety will be enormous, and will ensure Coffs Harbour continues to grow and prosper for generations to come.”

Federal Member for Cowper Pat Conaghan said the bypass would deliver an economic boost to the region, creating about 12,000 jobs during construction.

“Not only will locals get work but they’ll also get valuable training and experience that will be transferable to many careers or business ventures,” Mr Conaghan said.

“Supporting businesses will also enjoy a boost, as seen up and down the coast during the recently completed Pacific Highway upgrade.”

State Member for Coffs Harbour Gurmesh Singh said the project was also having flow-on effects for the regional economy.

“We’ve signed up 13 local builders to carry out work on a range of at home-noise treatments including seals to windows and doors; reglazing with acoustic glass; installation of air conditioning; acoustic insulation; or relining of exposed walls,” Mr Singh said.

“More than 30 local businesses have also been engaged for the preliminary work now taking place and there will be more opportunities for local suppliers as work progresses.”

Once completed, the bypass will save motorists 11 minutes travel time, allowing them to bypass up to 12 sets of traffic lights. Three tunnels will be built for the bypass at Roberts Hill, Shephards Lane and Gatelys Road, delivering safer and quicker journeys for the thousands of locals, tourists and freight operators who use the route daily.

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