News / Community / Featured / 4th November 2021
Group formed to address Coona bypass concerns
Warrumbungle Shire Council mayor, Cr Ambrose Doolan believes Transport for NSW has done a lot of “box ticking” when it came to the proposed bypass plans for Coonabarabran.
The bypass design plans were put out for submission and public feedback earlier this year.
After consulting with the Coonabarabran Volunteer Rescue Association (VRA), Cr Doolan expressed his concern with several aspects of the design, which he said could lead to a serious road accident and potential fatalities once complete.
Cr Doolan and general manager, Roger Bailey, recently spoke with a representative from Transport for NSW via video link, where Cr Doolan said his fears were confirmed.
“During the meeting we expressed our concerns at the potential for serious motor vehicle accidents with the current design,” Cr Doolan said.
“However, during this meeting we were informed that no changes would be made to the plans.”
To add insult to injury, the mayor was advised that no funding would be available for dealing with any economic impacts imposed by the bypass on the Coonabarabran community.
Cr Doolan said the design issues were located at the staggered T-intersections planned for both Purlewaugh and River Roads.
With the bypass designed as a 110 kilometre per hour road, the VRA has also flagged the significant risk to motorists.
“What they the (VRA) said to me was that they have to attend enough accidents as it is - they don’t want to have to attend even more,” Cr Doolan explained.
“In a move to minimise construction costs, the proposed design has created a serious safety hazard which, like the economic factors, are glossed over in their proposal.”
As a result of being unable to sway Transport for NSW, Cr Doolan proposed at the most recent Council meeting that a group or committee be set up in a bid to have the concerns properly addressed and acknowledged.
“The purpose of this committee will be to properly inform a consultant that Council will engage to deliver a well-thought-out plan to the Minister of Roads - Mr Paul Toole - who has also recently become the Minister for Regional Development,” Cr Doolan said.
“There is no more important issue facing this Council at the moment.”
Cr Doolan’s suggestion was passed at the Council meeting and will soon begin to work closely with different members of the public.
Some of the significant concessions that the group will be seeking include:
• That Transport for NSW conduct a more detailed assessment of the potential impact on Coonabarabran of the proposed bypass and prepare a strategy for dealing with these impacts;
• Transport for NSW to work with the Shire and the Chamber of Commerce to identify potential impacts to local businesses from loss of trade and have solutions identified prior to the construction phase;
•That Transport for NSW work with Council and engage a consultant to conduct an independent survey/data collection with local businesses to establish an economic baseline prior to construction of the bypass; and
• That Transport for NSW design the Coonabarabran bypass with a vehicle over/under pass for the intersections at Purlewaugh and River Roads.