Pollies split over by pass

By PETER CATON

TWEED'S two Labor politicians are at odds over the federal government's final green light for the Tugun bypass.

Richmond MP Justine Elliot reckons the news is just great, but state MP for Tweed Neville Newell has consistently fought the project, arguing for a highway upgrade on the current route. Yesterday he simply said he was "not making any comment" on the final go-ahead.

That followed his decision late last year not to turn up to a joint announcement by NSW Premier Morris Iemma and Queensland Premier Peter Beattie on the bypass.

Ms Elliot on the other hand yesterday said the decision was "a great result".

As a former Queensland police officer working on the Gold Coast, she said she knew the new road would save lives.

"I know first hand how desperate the need is for the upgrade," she said. "As a police officer I attended fatal accidents along that stretch of highway".

Ms Elliot said Tweed residents who worked on the Gold Coast had complained to her about the need for a new road.

"We've waited a very long time for it," she added. "I'm pleased it will get under way".

Gold Coast Airport has welcomed the decision.

Managing director Dennis Chant said airport management had often received complaints from people who had been delayed by traffic congestion on the current highway and missed their planes.

He said the approval allowed the airport to push ahead with plans for a runway extension over the proposed road tunnel.

He was also pleased the planning provided for a future rail tunnel to link the present Brisbane to Robina line to a future airport rail station.

Provision would be made during construction of the road tunnel for a parallel rail tunnel with the necessary work to ensure future construction would not disturb the runway.



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