The NSW Nationals in the state and federal governments have welcomed the latest upgrade to the Pacific Highway with an eight-kilometre leap forward open to traffic between Wells Crossing and Glenugie.
Local NSW Nationals Federal Member for Page Kevin Hogan said the upgrade was already transforming journeys right up and down the coast.
“I couldn’t be more excited that we’ll see the full duplication of the highway completed by Christmas,” Mr Hogan said.
“The section between Wells Crossing and Glenugie opening to traffic is another welcome milestone for the project.”
State NSW Nationals Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis said this project would change communities all along the north coast of NSW for the better.
“Journeys on the Pacific Highway are already becoming safer each and every day and I can’t wait to see the duplication works complete in a matter of weeks – with the entire length of the highway transformed into a four-lane dual carriageway,” Mr Gulaptis said.
“It’s been a long time coming, but I know the wait will be worth it. This part of the upgrade includes safer access for local residents who currently access their properties from the existing Pacific Highway and I thank them for their cooperation while we’ve carried out work.”
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said this was the latest stretch between Woolgoolga and Ballina to open to traffic before the country’s biggest ever regional road project crosses the finish line next month, weather permitting.
“The $15 billion Pacific Highway upgrade program started more than 20 years ago to make journeys safer between Hexham and the Queensland border,” Mr McCormack said.
“Since then, the number of fatal crashes on the highway has more than halved, down from more than 40 per year prior to the upgrade starting to less than 20 in recent years.
“Of course, any death on our roads is one too many and this is why the NSW Nationals in the federal government are investing $110 billion on infrastructure over the next decade to get Australians home sooner and safer while laying the foundations for economic recovery from the pandemic.”
New South Wales Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Paul Toole said it was exciting to see the Woolgoolga to Ballina section, the final link in the Pacific Highway upgrade, hit the home stretch.
“This section of the upgrade alone has been an important economic and employment driver for northern NSW, supporting around 3,000 jobs at its peak and injecting millions into local communities,” Mr Toole said.
“Many locals, tourists and freight operators are already raving about how much safer and quicker journeys are along the Pacific Highway, so to be nearing the end of this multi-generational project is going to be a huge win for so many people.”
The Australian Government has committed $4.03 billion with the NSW Government providing the remaining funding towards the project.