Understanding the impacts of the Bypass

Media release - 19 April 2017

An independent research study, commissioned by Kempsey Shire Council, will provide an updated assessment on the economic impacts of the Pacific Highway Bypass four years on from the diversion of traffic from Kempsey.

International transport expert, Dr Bruno Parolin, will undertake a survey of over 100 businesses located along the former highway corridor in an effort to quantify the performance of local businesses since the bypass opening and, more recently, since the completion of the Smith Street upgrade and the opening of the Highway Service Centre.

Council’s Economic Development Manager, Susannah Smith, said it is important for Council to be able to measure the economic impacts from the bypass on local businesses.

“Pre-bypass estimates predicted a direct job loss of 176, but research conducted by Dr Parolin in 2013, eight months after the Bypass was opened, showed an actual job loss of 74 from the 115 businesses surveyed,” Ms Smith said.

“With anecdotal reports of positive business impacts since the multi-million dollar works to revamp Smith Street, and the jobs created by the Highway Service Centre, this research will capture, quantify and benchmark economic impacts, as well as the local business community’s performance to date and levels of confidence for the future.”

Dr Parolin will send a letter of introduction to businesses located in South Kempsey, Kempsey and Frederickton in late April, with face-to-face interviews due to be conducted with businesses in May.

The results of the research study, expected to be released early in the new financial year, will be used to inform the 2017-27 Macleay Valley Economic Development Strategy.

Data from the study will also be used to support future grant funding applications to encourage continued business growth and investment along the former highway corridor.