Please explain issued to RTA

By Emma Cornford

THE Roads and Traffic Authority has been asked to explain its role in the North Coast Pacific Highway upgrade.

The NSW Ombudsman sent the RTA a letter, outlining residents' accusations that the authority failed to address community concerns, particularly in expansion of the study area for the Tintenbar to Ewingsdale section.

Assistant Ombudsman Greg Andrews said complaints had been received from many North Coast people.

"Right now we're making preliminary inquiries with the RTA," Mr Andrews said.

"We're expecting a meeting with the RTA at the beginning of March and we're expecting they will have formulated a written response. Then we'll decide whether or not we'll investigate their actions."

Jack Harper, spokesperson for The United Group, a group of residents from the Northern Rivers who have protested against the RTA's actions, said the RTA had long since ignored the community in the highway debate.

"When the community, the Parliament and the Ombudsman all ask the same questions ? it is time for the Roads Minister to direct the RTA to listen and drop its wasteful plans for a six-lane tollway and get along with the job of opening up the alternative truck route and making the current highway safe," he said.

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