Pacific Hwy upgrade
Pacific Hwy upgrade Trevor Veale

Pacific Hwy officially grabs 'worst road in NSW' title

WITH the Federal Election looming, the Pacific Hwy has retained its unenviable title of "the worst road in NSW".

As promises to fix the NSW North Coast's deadliest road continued to make headlines this week, the NRMA revealed that despite a number of upgrades in past years, the trip from Sydney to the border was still the one Australian drivers fear most.

More than 10,000 motorists took part in the Seeing Red on Roads survey which found the Pacific Hwy - specifically the section at Urunga, south of Coffs Harbour - was the most dangerous.

The highway also received the most votes for having the worst road surface in NSW and the ACT and was rated the most congested outside of Sydney.

NRMA President Wendy Machin said she was relieved that progress was finally made on notorious black spots between Kempsey and Ballina but said it was unacceptable that more than 20 years after infamous crashes at Grafton and Clybucca the duplication had not been completed.

Work on the Urunga section is in its earliest stages and Coffs Harbour MP Andrew Fraser admits "it's not going to happen overnight".

Unsurprisingly, he said the key to change would be electing a Coalition federal government, but he accepted the upgrade, in general, was taking "much longer" than it should.

He believes the one thing slowing the duplication's progress more than funding feuds between the state and federal politicians, is the red-tape both levels of government face in the planning stages.

"Legislation needs to change to ensure that when these deviations are done and funding is available, we don't have to wait two years for environmental studies to say we can put a road where it has already been planned to go," Mr Fraser said

"If we are ever going to get this done - we have to move that way...where that sort of time and cost is taken out of road building."

The top five worst roads on the NSW North Coast, as voted by drivers, will be revealed at a community awareness day in Coffs Harbour on August 6.

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