News / Featured / Community / 9th December 2021
Bypass bitter sweet for landowners
As the proposed bypass continues to loom over Coonabarabran, landholders affected by the encroaching highway are speaking up.
Bob Fenwick owns 130 acres just out of Coonabarabran on the Purlewaugh Road.
The proposed design of the bypass will cut Mr Fenwick’s property in half. Despite the invasion onto his property, Mr Fenwick has vowed to stay on.
He said he is attempting to remain optimistic about the project despite the obvious impacts on his hobby farm.
While he wasn’t exactly happy about the works, Mr Fenwick said the proposed path of the highway made sense.
“I mean, it doesn’t take a great deal to look at it and think this is the common sense path for it,” Mr Fenwick said.
“At my age it’s not really going to affect me a whole lot-Ionlyrunafewsheep and cattle these days.
“Other people will be more affected than me.”
As part of the agreement, Mr Fenwick has had to lobby Transport for NSW to provide a safe underpass so he can gain access to the other half of his property.
New fencing has been agreed upon and water resources considered where needed.
“The underpass will be three metres by three metres. It won’t be big enough to get a tractor through, but it will be big enough to herd stock through,” he explained.
“To be honest, I’m pretty happy and confident in what has been offered.”
Included in the agreements were specially-designed, noise-reduction walls.
While Mr Fenwick remained optimistic, he said his main concern for the bypass design fell outside his boundary.
He said traffic, including fully-loaded trucks travelling west along Purlewaugh Road, will have to contend with a steady descent before coming to a full stop.
They will then have to cross the double-lane highway and on-coming traffic on the new bypass in a bid to travel in an easterly direction.
“It’s dangerous,” Mr Fenwick said.
“There’s a real potential for accidents there and that design needs to be addressed.”
Mr Fenwick said Transport for NSW told him project construction could begin as early as 2025, but he predicts, with the after effects of COVID-19, motorists will have to wait quite a while longer.
“To be honest, I don’t expect it to be in my time,” he said.
Mr Fenwick and his wife have lived at their Purlewaugh Road address since 2013 after the Wambelong fires ripped through their previous home.
The couple lost everything apart from 15 sheep, their car and caravan.
“We’d owned that property since 1981,” he said.
“We’re just so lucky to be involved in such a caring and loving community that helped us through it all.”