Highway change furore
A GROUP was elected last night to fight for access to the South Tweed business precinct during the construction of the Sexton Hill Pacific Highway upgrade.
With work set to start on the $300 million project before the end of the year, business owners are alarmed that during and after construction, access to South Tweed could be cut by up to 75 per cent.
Forefront on the Community Focus Group's (CFG) agenda will be pushing for a Kirkwood Road interchange to be constructed immediately to increase access to the business precinct.
At the meeting, Tweed business identity Idwall Richards said the plans for Sexton Hill would create an “outrageous” situation and called for the CFG to be given a mandate.
“Spending on the project will be $300 million, yet the local community will not receive one red cent in benefit,” Mr Richards said.
The meeting voted to give the CFG power to represent the citizens and business community of the Tweed to the State and Federal governments to secure the “best possible outcome” during and after construction of the deviation of the Pacific Highway over Sexton Hill.
Rod Bates of the Tweed Heads Community Highway Group (THCHG) explained to about 40 attendees the Road and Traffic Authority's plans for the Pacific Highway deviation.
One of the “problems” for business that THCHG sees in the plan is the severe reduction of access to South Tweed during and after construction of the project.
“There is no doubt access to South Tweed retail and commerce area will be reduced by 75 per cent from what we have got now.”
“At the northern interchange there will be one lane from the freeway (on to Minjungbal Drive), which is going to mean a huge amount of congestion at that point,” Mr Bates said.
“'It is busy enough now', I hear people say - but it is going to get worse.”
Mr Bates explained that the RTA's only interest lay in highway traffic, but the Tweed Heads area was in a position where the highway was used as a local road.
“What we are going to finish up with is a magnificent highway for vehicles travelling north or south; just don't try and get on or off it,” Mr Bates said.
With drivers knowing the congestion that lay at South Tweed, many would choose to continue north to Elanora, Burleigh or Robina.
Tweed Shire Council has plans to build a Kirkwood Road interchange in 2015, however, Mr Bates said the RTA was against its construction.