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 more than 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.
Ms Smith said the report would “capture, quantify and benchmark" the economic impacts of the bypass and shape future action.
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.