The Pacific Hwy upgrade is taking shape as this shot looking south from the Sandy Beach overpass shows. Photo: Trevor Veale / Coffs Coast Advocate
The Pacific Hwy upgrade is taking shape as this shot looking south from the Sandy Beach overpass shows. Photo: Trevor Veale / Coffs Coast Advocate Trevor Veale

Council fears highway upgrade will be costly

EVERYONE knows the Clarence Valley Council's finances are tough, and that's why the Mayor Richie Williamson is worried about what will happen to the old Pacific Hwy once the new one is built.

At the last round of council committee meetings on Tuesday last week, councillors were told a 3.8km stretch of the old Pacific Hwy had been moved onto their books.

The New South Wales Government provided $242,000 to fix the road.

On hearing this, councillor Craig Howe asked if they could refuse to take it.

And Councillor Andrew Baker asked director of works Troy Anderson if the road would end up costing the council money.

Mr Anderson confirmed maintaining the road in the long term would be very expensive. He recommended fixing the road as a priority, in the short term, so its condition did not become a liability or an ongoing legacy.

Yesterday, Cr Williamson said he was concerned what would happen with the rest of the highway.

"For us, as the council, the real discussion will be what will happen with the rest of the old Pacific Hwy," Cr Williamson said.

"We simply can't afford to take on ownership."

Cr Williamson was concerned the cost of maintaining the remaining 41km stretch between Grafton and Maclean would fall to the council after the upgrade took place.

"We would welcome a discussion with the Roads and Maritime Authority about this," he said. In his view, he said, the Summerland Hwy and the Gwydir Hwy should be extended to include the road between Grafton and Maclean, and ensure maintenance stayed on the State Government's books.



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