No new funds for Pacific Highway upgrade in NSW Budget

ONE of the biggest infrastructure spends in the state's history has failed to secure any new funding for the Pacific Hwy upgrade.

Out of the $5.1billion being invested into NSW roads in the coming year, $928million in previous flagged funding has been allocated to fixing the deadly highway.

This year's budget papers revealed just how far the duplication had slid back from the once-promised 2016 deadline.

In a schedule of projects currently under way or subject to planning, completion dates for at least half of the north coast works simply read "not applicable".

Coffs Harbour MP Andrew Fraser, whose electorate takes in four of the key projects, insisted the funding would "help get the north coast moving again".

Two projects in the Coffs Harbour region are among the few expected to be finished by 2016.

The $145million boost for the Sapphire to Woolgoolga upgrade will see the project through to completion by next year, while $140million set aside for Nambucca-to-Urunga will initiate works later this year.

Further south, $24.5million will go towards pre-construction of the yet to be fully funded Warrell Creek to Nambucca upgrade.

About $2million will go towards planning for the Coffs Harbour bypass, which is unlikely to become a reality for a decade.

The section which takes in the scene of the notorious Clybucca bus crash was given a $180million boost and could be finished within the next two years.

The release of $220million for Titenbar to Ewingsdale will ease congestion north of Ballina but there is no end in sight for the north coast's most anticipated upgrade.

Although responsible for many road deaths, the Woolgoolga to Ballina upgrade has been under "planning" since the 1990s.

This year's budget will feed $100million into the project but delays and political buck-passing have ensured that without extra funding a dual carriage way from Coffs Harbour to the border is still at least five years away.

Mr Fraser said the start of the project would still be a "major relief" for the whole region.

Funding for Sydney roads almost doubled from last year.

More than $1billion over four years has been promised to the WestConnex link between Sydney's west and Port Botany.

Overall, NRMA President Wendy Machin found a "solid budget" had been delivered but more money was needed for regional roads.

She was pleased to see healthy sums finally being directed to where they were needed but said too many lives had been lost on the Princes and Pacific Hwy's and hoped the government would find ways "to bring the funding forward".

 

Pacific Hwy spend

  • $140m - Nambucca to Urunga (2016)
  • $220m - Titenbar to Ewingsdale Bangalow (2014)
  • $180m - Clybucca
  • $145m - Sapphire to Woolgoolga
  • $24.7m -Devil's Pulpit
  • $20m - Port Macquarie to Kempsey
  • $24.5m - Warrell Creek to Nambucca
  • $2m - Coffs Harbour bypass
  • $100m - Woolgoolga to Ballina


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