KIAMA MP Gareth Ward said he welcomed informed debate on the Berry Bypass project but said it needs to be constructive.
“The Berry community is intelligent and is aware of all the facts,” he said.
“This project was first proposed way back in 1955 and every local member before me has tried to get funding for the Berry bypass – we have secured more than half a billion dollars for the proposed project.
“When Labor was in government they proposed a bypass much closer to the township and a much more imposing bridge over Broughton Creek.
“The RMS’s preferred option has seen major changes including moving the corridor further away from existing residents and lowering the bridge over Broughton Creek by 6.7 metres.
“Late in 2011 it was put to me that the southern option would be cheaper. The government conducted and independent study of both options and concluded the southern option to be $100 million more expensive
“The Environmental Assessment Process is under way and community members have asked a number questions and made comprehensive submissions and these will be considered before any green light is given to any further work on the project.
“I’m pleased the community is having debate but I hope it does not become divisive, which could lead to us losing the project entirely.”
Mr Ward said he hopes debate isn’t too divisive.
“I have worked too hard and too long to achieve funding for a Berry Bypass and don’t believe simply because a particular side of this debate doesn’t get its way that it should negate having any bypass at all,” he said.
“At a time when we need jobs and investment and the many crosses we all see on the side of the highway reminds us how important this investment is.
“It is a great investment in road safety and a great investment in our economy, not just for Berry but the entire region.”
The government would like to start work on the Berry Bypass in 2015 and have 11.4km stretch of work completed by 2018.