Highway route chosen

THOUSANDS of property owners will be affected by the State Government's announcement of its preferred route for the Pacific Highway upgrade from Woodburn to Ballina.

The four-lane route bypasses the towns of Woodburn, Broadwater and Wardell.

The remaining 6.5km of the route follows the existing highway corridor, connecting to the approved Ballina bypass site.

However it's not just residents who live in the path of the route who will be affected by the choice.

Member for Ballina Don Page said there were many whose lives would be disrupted by the prospect of a highway metres from their doorsteps, and they would not be entitled to compensation.

He said it was also bad news for those between Tintenbar and Ewingsdale because it meant Roads Minister Joe Tripodi was not seriously considering an inland highway option.

"It would appear this means they are not going to look at the inland option," he said.

"I'm very disappointed he has announced this route before he has seriously looked at an inland route."

Mr Tripodi said that despite the announcement his Government would continue to do preliminary assessment work on the inland proposal.

"Preliminary advice shows the Page plan would have potentially ecological contentious challenges as it has the potential to impact on areas of high biodiversity, such as old-growth forests and significant areas of threatened species habitat, and have very significant impact on rural holdings between Casino and Ewingsdale," Mr Tripodi said.

"The proposal also has the potential to impact on noise and social amenity in both urban and rural communities such as Grafton, Junction Hill, Koolkhan, Whiporee, Casino, Lismore, Woodlawn, Bexhill, Clunes and Possum Creek.

"Despite these constraints, I agree to consider looking at the Summerland Way proposal. However, this will not stop planning for the upgrade of the Pacific Highway."

He said the community would have until the end of January to comment on the Woodburn-to-Ballina preference.

"The NSW Government is getting on with the job of upgrading the Pacific Highway," he said.

"More than 210 written submissions and 383 feedback forms from members of the public on the four route options displayed were received.

"The RTA has taken this feedback into consideration in selecting the preferred route."

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