FEDERAL environment minister Sussan Ley has approved construction of the Coffs Harbour bypass in northern New South Wales, expecting to ease truck movements on the Pacific Highway.

Deputy prime minister infrastructure minister Michael McCormack said the 14km bypass was one of the 15 major projects the Federal Government committed to fast-tracking in June this year.

“The bypass is going to take more than 12,000 vehicles a day out of the centre of Coffs Harbour, reduce travel times,” the deputy PM said.

NSW regional transport minister Paul Toole said the Pacific Highway was a major contributor to Australia’s economy and the Coffs Harbour bypass would be a key link.

Federal MP for Cowper Pat Conaghan said now planning approval had been received, the benefits of investment in the biggest infrastructure project the region had ever seen could be realised.

The bypass is 80% funded by the federal government.

State MP for Coffs Harbour Gurmesh Singh said getting the official tick to move forward was exciting news.

“We’ve now got the green light and can get on with delivery of the biggest infrastructure project that Coffs has ever seen – it’s an investment in the future of our community,” Mr Singh said.