Page plan rejected
By EMMA CORNFORD
THE Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA) has rejected the concept of an inland highway route which would track the Summerland Way and provide a second bridge for Grafton.
An RTA spokesperson said the inland route, proposed recently by Member for Ballina Don Page, 'cannot be justified'.
"The idea of an inland route, which includes portions of the Summerland Way and extends to Grafton, has been raised before (but) a route of this nature cannot be justified in either the short- or long-term because it would not be cost effective and would attract insufficient traffic," the spokesperson said yesterday. "The Pacific Highway Upgrading Program is aimed at improving the existing route within the highway corridor. An inland route would not achieve this and would also not address local traffic issues currently being experienced on the existing highway."
The spokesperson said recent studies by the RTA showed that the current Pacific Highway carries up to 70 per cent of local traffic travelling between regional coastal communities and the upgrade aimed to improve travel for local and through traffic.
"An inland route would also travel through areas of significant environmental biodiversity and impact on areas of significant agricultural importance," the spokesperson said.
The spokesperson also rejected a call from Clarence Valley interest groups to extend the deadline for public submissions into the new highway route, currently set at November 18.
Meanwhile, Tyndale residents opposed to the Pacific Highway upgrade through their area have received a blow to their campaign against the route.
Tyndale Progress Association committee member Hazel Miltiadou said the area's petition against the Orange route yesterday went missing from the Tyndale Store, where people had been adding their signatures for the past three days.
"We had about 60 signatures on it already and had spent a lot of time explaining to people about the highway options ... but now we're going to have to start again which is a real shame," Mrs Miltiadou said. "It wasn't just locals; there were people from as far down as Shark Creek, Brushgrove and Cowper who had signed it as well as people who live along the highway now."
Although she agreed someone may have deliberately taken the petition, Mrs Miltiadou said it was more likely it was picked up unintentionally.
"We just wanted to see if people could check if they've come across it because it would be great to get it back again."
A meeting about the highway options will be held this Sunday at the Tyndale/Brushgrove Hall from 4pm.