The Bypass

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A second round of community consultation

In early April this year, Transport for NSW released their Strategic Corridor Workshops Report which summarises the outcomes of several workshops to arrive at 3 short-listed bypass corridors – Purple, Orange and Yellow.

3 short-listed bypass corridors – Purple, Orange and Yellow.

This is a new development. In May last year, Transport for NSW put forward only one preferred corridor – the Orange Corridor - as part of their Moruya Bypass Strategic Corridor Options Report. However, they received lots of criticism from the community about:

  • the consultation process they conducted during March/April 2020 and May 2021,
  • the level of information provided to the community about the selection process for the preferred bypass corridor, and their preferred Orange route.

They sought feedback on the 3 bypass corridor options as part of a second round of community consultation that started in April and ended on 13 June 2022.

The community consultation comprised online surveys, a corridor feedback form seeking comments on the 3-short-listed options and an interactive map that allowed people to comment directly on a map of these options. There were 3 community information sessions on Traffic and Noise, Landscape and Biodiversity and Flooding, as well as a Flood Focus group which met 3 times in May and June. In addition, Transport for NSW held stalls at the SAGE markets and Moruya Country markets as well as the Corrigan’s Beach market.

MBAG members responded to the online surveys and provided comments on the interactive map, as well as the corridor feedback form. We attended all of the community information sessions and were represented on the Flood Focus Group. We were also present at the markets and had our own stall the Moruya markets.

We found that people had difficulties accessing the interactive map and leaving comments on it and that there was a poor response to the online business survey. The town centre survey was very basic and it is not clear what useful information it provided. Due to poor weather, the attendance at markets was tiny. The information provided to the community by Transport for NSW at these markets was very basic and there was no recording of any feedback from the community. Similarly, the community information sessions were poorly attended, the information provided was minimal and questions or comments from the community were not recorded.

MBAG members reviewed Transport for NSW’s Strategic Corridor Workshops report as well as the technical reports on the Transport for NSW website. Some of the technical reports were massive (500+ pages) and were beyond the understanding of most people in the community. Others were very preliminary and did not contain important detail which will only be gathered for the chosen bypass route at a later stage. None of the technical reports reflected recent modifications to the various bypass corridor options and were consequently out-dated.

Our key concerns about this latest round of consultation was its reliance on online feedback which prevented a large portion of our community from having a say. There was no clear indication how each of the bypass options would integrate with the new Eurobodalla hospital and there was no acknowledgement of the huge impacts of the 2019-20 bushfires and Covid on the environment and the community, events which changed the landscape of our region.

What we said

The Moruya Bypass Action Group provided our members with the following dot points summarising the advantages and disadvantages of the 3 short-listed bypass options.

The Purple option

  • is by far the shortest and least damaging route
  • displaces fewer families and has the least impact on property
  • will cause least harm to the environment and does not affect the market area at Riverside Park
  • will destroy the least amount of productive agricultural land because it follows existing paper roads for part of the route
  • is the cheapest to build, allowing funds to be directed to highway blackspots
  • is better for local businesses because the town will be visible from the bypass
  • goes directly to the new Regional Hospital
  • will generate the least carbon emissions because it requires far less concrete

The Orange option

  • will result in at least 6 kms of raised concrete land bridge being built across the river flats
  • has the greatest impact on property and displaces the most people who will struggle to find housing locally
  • damages the greatest area of productive agricultural land
  • will have no on or off ramps to town, the airport or the new Regional Hospital
  • will be more than 2 kms from town which will not be visible from the bypass so local businesses will suffer from loss of passing trade
  • goes through areas of high bushfire risk
  • crosses the river at its deepest section which was used by planes to collect water to fight bushfires in 2020
  • cuts through large areas of forest and sensitive wetlands
  • rejoins the highway about 3 kms south of the new Regional Hospital which requires emergency vehicles using the bypass to go back towards town via 2 roundabouts

The Yellow option

  • is the longest and most expensive route because it requires extensive cut and fill through difficult terrain as well as a raised concrete land bridge
  • is the most environmentally destructive because it goes through large areas of forested country and floodplain
  • passes through an extensive area of very high bushfire risk
  • damages a large area of productive agricultural land to the south of the river
  • will displace local families and destroy livelihoods
  • is furthest from town which will not be visible from the bypass
  • like the Orange option it will not have on or off ramps to town, the airport or the new Regional Hospital
  • rejoins the highway well south of the new Regional Hospital which requires ambulances using the bypass to double back towards town via 2 roundabouts

If you believe that Moruya does not need a bypass at this time, please let Transport for NSW know. Many people are telling us that there are other priorities for our area right now, including the new Regional Hospital and fixing known blackspots as well as the road surface on the Princes Highway south to the border.
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