Detailed Design of interchanges
Since the award of the major construction in June 2022, Ferrovial Gamuda Joint Venture (FGJV) has been reviewing the concept design for the bypass. We have made some changes to the three interchange designs that were displayed in the EIS and Design Refinements.
The project update explains the changes and advises how to provide us with feedback on the three interchange designs.
The changes to the three interchanges optimises the design to deliver better outcomes for the community and road users once the new highway is open.
Ferrovial Gamuda JV starts geotechnical investigations
Over the past few months Ferrovial Gamuda Joint Venture has started important preparatory work including geotechnical investigations. Geotechnical investigations have started at various locations across the alignment to help inform the detailed design process ahead of major construction work starting in early 2023. Up to 300 boreholes will be drilled to supplement previous geotechnical investigations carried out by Transport for NSW in the past. Depending on its depth, it will take between a few hours and several days to complete each hole. The complete program of geotechnical investigations, boreholes and test pits, will take about six months.
Boreholes collect physical samples of the soil and rock conditions beneath the surface. Geotechnical specialists analyse these samples to help inform the detailed design. Features like the soil type and depth to reach hard rock help the designers refine the exact locations for bridge footings and other structural elements of the project. We can also accurately calculate the amount of rock from tunnels and cuttings that can be reused in building the bypass.
Coffs Harbour Major Contractor Announced
We are pleased to announce that the successful tender of the major contract is Ferrovial Gamuda Joint Venture. Major construction will start next year with the bypass being delivered using a single design and construct contract to ensure innovation, efficiency and value for money in the delivery of the project. The project includes the three tunnels at the major ridgelines, as per the environmental planning approval.
The Australian and NSW Governments have committed $2.2 billion, as part of the overall project cost, to build this 14 kilometre bypass, which is one of the biggest ever projects in the Coffs Harbour region. During construction, it is estimated that the project will create about 600 direct jobs. For the past 18 months we’ve been carrying out important early work for the bypass, including at-house noise treatments, relocating essential utilities, structural removals and environmental work so major construction can hit the ground running. Major work is expected to start about March, weather permitting, with site establishment including construction. The bypass is expected to be open to traffic from late 2026, with construction complete in late 2027.
Getting Ready for Flora Translocation
Bush regeneration has begun to remove noxious weeds at our sites that will be receiving some of our rare and endangered species, including the Slender Marsdenia, Pittosporum and the Fontainea. This preparation work is very important to ensure the plants have the best chance of survival when they are translocated in Autumn.
Transport for NSW (TfNSW) is completing a comprehensive propagation program with over 900 Fontainea cuttings being collected and a number of seeds being germinated. Fontainea cuttings were recently taken to the University of Sunshine Coast early this week, where Dr Steven Ogbourne and his team propagated the Fontainea from cuttings, seeds and seedlings. Once established, they will be planted at our receival site. Our engaged ecologists will also be collecting leaf samples of the Slender Marsdenia. There is not much known about this species and these samples will be genetically analysed to assist with its conservation into the future.
In addition to translocation, Transport for NSW remains committed to protecting and minimising impacts to the new species by protecting the majority of the plants in-situ. In consultation with biodiversity, genetic and botanical experts, the alignment has been refined to avoid most of the Fontainea and Pittosportum species found in the alignment. One small mature Fontainea tree will be impacted, and we are going to translocate this individual using highly experienced botanical and horticultural specialists.
For more information on these new species check out the following videos:
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.
Transport for NSW will be seeking planning approval through carrying out the environmental impact statement on the preferred route.
The current route map can be viewed here.
Transport for NSW 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.
In May 2018 the Australian Government committed $971 million to build the project, and in September Roads and Maritime released the preferred concept design for community feedback.
In September 2019 the project's environmental impact statement was exhibited for public comment.