Mixed reviews for new hwy route

THE RTA's alternative route for the upgraded Pacific Hwy between Tyndale and Maclean has received mixed reviews from cane growers and residents.

The RTA's original proposed dual-carriageway alongside Shark Creek raised concerns from residents and cane growers about the impact on land and houses.

As a result of submissions made to the RTA, an alternative route was investigated.

The new route will move the highway 600 to 1200m to the east from Shark Creek before reconnecting with the existing route near Maclean.

NSW Cane Growers Association president Vince Castle said the new route – which will affect three to four cane farms in the area – was an improvement but not perfect.

“With the original preferred route, there would've been about 15-18 farms affected – I know one chap who would've had three farms affected – so it was quite a disastrous option for some of the farmers there,” Mr Castle said.

Tyndale resident James Moloney – who would have lost acres of land from his property under the previous route – said while the new route was an improvement, he was concerned it might be a convenient short-term solution which might lead to serious problems down the track.

He said he was concerned the new route crossed kilometres of low-lying, swampy ground.

Mr Moloney said the dangers of having the highway vulnerable to floodwater were evident during the flood earlier this year when the highway was submerged for days near the Harwood Bridge.

“It's the lesser of two evils – if there's a rush to have something built or approved by 2016 then this is the easier option but I think there is potential for this massive piece of infrastructure in the middle of the flood plain to have serious environmental and economic consequences in the future.”.

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