Hwy upgrade consultation approved

THE planned Tintenbar to Ewingsdale stretch of the Pacific Hwy and its controversial tunnel under St Helena Hill has upset some landowners and conservationists.

But NSW Department of Roads and Maritime Services officials involved in the road's planning seem to have won top marks for their efforts to explain the project and what will be involved during construction.

Forty people gathered in the Bangalow A&I Hall yesterday for the latest two-hour monthly meeting aimed at explaining details of planning for the highway.

RMS officials and engineers from the contractor Baulderstone Pty Ltd outlined plans for dozens of dams to collect sediment running off from the 17km road project and to talk individually to all landowners within a 500m radius of the planned St Helena tunnel about blasting work.

While the session was peppered with polite concerns about monitoring of underground water quality and the ability of sediment basins to cope with days of heavy rain, the audience seemed pleased with the consultation efforts.

Dan Manson of Evans Head, who travelled with a friend to Bangalow to attend the meeting because he frequently travels along the highway, said the consultation was excellent.

"They (Roads and Maritime Services) have obviously got their act together in this area," Mr Manson said.

"I've learnt a lot today. We travel the road and want to know what they are going to do.

"In any major project they are going to upset people but as a road user I think they have done an excellent job."

The meeting was told a bridge over the old Casino Murwillumbah railway near Bangalow would provide 9.1m clearance above the line in case trains some day return to it.

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