TENDERS have been called for route options for a Tenterfield bypass, with the brief to look at routes on both the eastern and western side of town.
The NSW Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) tender brief does not specify that the bypass will be a heavy vehicle bypass.
The announcement has raised the fears of residents on Tenterfield’s Western Street which was identified as a possible bypass route in a 2009 feasibility study done by Peece Consulting for Tenterfield Shire Council.
Resident Jeff Moss said he and his Western Street neighbours had been left in limbo for years, not knowing whether their houses could be resumed to make way for the bypass.
“No one’s doubting something needs to be done with the main street, that is not the issue,” Mr Moss said.
“But if they go over this side, how are they going to pick up Casino Road and the Mt Lindesay Road?”
Mr Moss said he wanted to build an extension on his house, but did not want to go ahead without knowing where the bypass would go.
“No one’s come to see us,” he said. “It’s been a real pain in the proverbial.
“…When a bloke gets out of the grader with a high visibility shirt on, that’s when someone will come and talk to us.”
Mr Moss’s neighbours Denis and Alice Flynn, who moved into their home soon after their wedding 65 years ago, were told in 2009 that the bypass could be built 120m from their front door.
“We don’t own the house, it owns us,” Mr Flynn said.
Mr and Mrs Flynn said they do not want to move, but do not want to live alongside the bypass.
Mr Flynn said he had been told at the time of the Peece study that a bypass on the western side would cost about $22 million, while one of the eastern side could cost $66 million.
An RMS spokesperson said the feasibility study, which looked at three options on the western side of town, would be considered as part of the project.
“Community consultation will be a key part of the planning process to ensure local concerns are considered,” the spokesperson said.
The federal government announced $3 million in funding to plan the bypass and a further $3 million to progress the Bolivia Hill upgrade at the last budget.
Professional engineering service companies have been asked to submit tenders by March 28, 2012. The RMS spokesperson said the contract was expected to be awarded by the end of April.
“Once the contract is awarded, the successful contractor will start investigation work,” the spokesperson said.
“The project will involve significant consultation with the community and stakeholders including Tenterfield Council. An early step in this process will be informing the community about the project through workshops, public displays and updates.”
The tender document states the bypass would “likely be a mixture of 80km an hour and 100km an hour speed limits, and would avoid the 50km an hour urban speed limit through town”.
“The project is for the New England Highway to bypass Tenterfield, not specifically a heavy vehicle bypass,” the RMS spokesperson said.
Tenterfield Shire mayor Toby Smith said he was pleased to see progress being made.
Cr Smith said as far as he knew, the bypass would be a heavy vehicle bypass.