Hill option ?soon

By ED SOUTHORN

THE number of vehicles using the Tugun bypass will increase by 20,000 per day in the first decade after the long-awaited, but still controversial, road opens at the end of next year.

The Queensland Main Roads Department Brisbane head office has advised the Daily News that 35,000 to 40,000 vehicles a day are forecast to use the bypass when it opens, but the traffic load is expected to rise to 60,000 vehicles a day by 2017.

This increased Tweed traffic-load estimate ? based on planned population growth and future road networks ? comes as the NSW Roads and Traffic Authority has advised that the preferred option for upgrading the Pacific Highway at Sexton Hill has still not been finalised.

An RTA spokesman in Sydney said a Sexton Hill preferred-option decision was expected "in the near future".

Tweed Heads Chamber of Commerce chief John Murray said the 50 per cent forecast increase in traffic showed it was "absolutely vital to get the right outcome" for the Sexton Hill upgrade.

Tugun bypass southbound traffic will join the Tweed bypass near the Kennedy Drive exit. Traffic from the Tweed bypass feeds on to Sexton Hill.

Already 85,000 to 90,000 vehicles per day head south on the Pacific Highway M1 route north of the Stewart Road interchange, from where the Tugun bypass will commence, according to the MRD.

The RTA estimates about 42,000 vehicles a day currently use Sexton Hill - around half the number of vehicles heading south down the M1.

Traffic on Sexton Hill yesterday was so heavy police called for the Terranora Road traffic lights to be adjusted to try to ease the Easter bottleneck.

"Historically, traffic volumes on the Pacific Highway are up approximately 25 per cent during the Easter holiday period," the RTA spokesman said.

"The Banora Point upgrade project will be delivered as part of $960 million in funding for the Pacific Highway provided by the state and federal governments over the next three years.



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