The final piece of the largest road infrastructure project in regional Australia is taking shape, with a 36-kilometre section of the Woolgoolga to Ballina Pacific Highway upgrade between Glenugie and Tyndale opening tomorrow.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the $15 billion Pacific Highway upgrade program started 20 years ago to make journeys safer between Hexham and the Queensland border.
“In this time the number of fatal crashes on the highway each year has more than halved, from 53 in 1999 to 15 in 2019. Of course, any death on our roads is one too many and this is why the Federal Government is investing $100 billion on infrastructure over the next decade,” Mr McCormack.
“Every road project which is part of the funding is aimed at getting people to where they need to be sooner and most importantly, safer.
“The Pacific Highway upgrade has also been a major investment in our regional communities, creating more than 3000 jobs during the peak of the Woolgoolga to Ballina project alone and injecting millions into local economies.”
NSW Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Paul Toole said the Woolgoolga to Ballina upgrade was the final link in the Pacific Highway between Hexham and the Queensland border to be upgraded to four lanes, with the project now about 89 per cent complete.
“We are so close to the end of this multi-generational project which is transforming journeys along the North Coast,” Mr Toole said.
“This started as a response to a horrific crash in Grafton in 1999, but it has now become much more than just a safety upgrade – it’s transforming tourism, freight and local journeys into smoother, and more reliable ones, which is critical for our regional economies.”
Federal Member for Page Kevin Hogan said the opening of the Glenugie to Tyndale section would significantly reduce travel times for motorists, who would shortly be able to enjoy more than 80 kilometres of dual carriageway between Woolgoolga and Ballina.
“This is the longest section of new highway to open on the Woolgoolga to Ballina upgrade. After it opens tomorrow, local communities will also enjoy improved safety from reduced traffic on the bypassed section of the existing Pacific Highway, which has been renamed Big River Way,” Mr Hogan said.
NSW Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis said this project would change communities all along the north coast of NSW for the better.
“These communities will experience safe and reliable access to the highway via the Glenugie and Tyndale interchanges, with the project team also working hard on the Iluka interchange, which is expected to open in June,” Mr Gulaptis said.
“Motorists using the new stretch of dual carriageway are also encouraged to take a break at the new northbound and southbound Pine Brush rest areas, which feature amenities including shaded seating and toilets.”
Electronic message signs will provide wayfinding information, and motorists should be aware of traffic management and reduced speed limits while work continues to build the upgrade.