Provest puts hand up for tunnel fight

TWEED Nationals MP Geoff Provest has vowed to fight on for the Sexton Hill upgrade tun- nel option.

Mr Provest yesterday said a "carrot-and-stick" approach could still force the NSW go- vernment to adopt the "Tweed community's preferred route". Mr Provest was responding to NRMA president Alan Evans, who told the Daily News on Wednesday that the RTA via- duct option ought to be support- ed because it was better than nothing. --------------- --------------- Mr Evans, speaking at the end of a three-day inspection drive along the North Coast sec- tion of the highway, said the summer holiday season would see many drivers on the North Coast unfamiliar with the high- way improvements who could be lulled into a false sense of% safety. "There will be an increased risk of accidents, they will have to make adjustments in a short space of time to an inferior sec- tion of road," Mr Evans said.

"When you build a great road, that's what can happen, you funnel the traffic some-% --------------- --------------- where else. That's why crashes happen; people don't make ad- justments for that."

He urged the NSW and feder- al governments to bring for- ward construction timetables to make the Pacific Highway a dual carriageway from Sydney to Brisbane by 2016, which cur- rently schedules the Sexton Hill upgrade no earlier than 2009.

Mr Provest said he could un- derstand where the NRMA was coming from.

"I completely understand, they just want the road fixed," Mr Provest said. "However, I am 100 per cent for Tweed and the --------------- --------------- state government's upgrade proposal is a demonstrable nightmare for local residents and small business.

"The fight is far from over. "Richmond Nationals candi- date Sue Page has had extensive discussions with Deputy Prime Minister Mark Vaile to explore ways of applying financial pres- sure on NSW Labor.

"I will continue to do every- thing I can to ensure we get a Tweed-friendly outcome.

"This lobbying is not causing any delays, since the start of works is not in the State Budget until at least 2009."

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