Pacific Highway upgrade begins
THE first sod of dirt was turned yesterday to signal the official start of construction of the $310 million Banora Point Pacific Highway upgrade.
Premier Kristina Keneally joined Federal Member for Richmond Justine Elliot in turning the first sod of the long-awaited project.
Ms Keneally said the upgrade would reduce traffic delays and create a safer highway for motorists.
“When complete in mid-2012, the new section of highway will reduce travel time and improve safety for the 55,000 motorists that use it every day,” she said.
Planners for the project say it will straighten and improve the Pacific Highway between Barneys Point Bridge and the Tweed Heads bypass.
Mrs Elliot said the upgrade of the Sexton Hill section of highway was part of a key 2007 election commitment.
“Today’s official sod turning is a significant milestone in the delivery of this important project,” said Ms Elliot.
“The upgrade will make a real difference for the thousands of local people who travel this busy section of highway every day.
“In addition to improving safety and reducing travel time for local commuters, the project will support up to 250 jobs in the short term. This will benefit the Far North Coast economy and build essential infrastructure for longer term economic prosperity.”
A site compound is being established on the eastern side of the highway at the foot of Sexton Hill.
Field investigations and clearing works will continue over summer and major works will begin early next year.
Premier Keneally said the start of works at Banora Point was a key part of the $3.6 billion Pacific Highway program.
“In fact, the upgrade of the Pacific Highway is one of the largest infrastructure projects in NSW history, with more than half the road expected to duplicated by the end of next year,” Ms Keneally said.
“The upgrade of the Highway through Banora Point is another great example of the Federal and NSW Labor governments working together to deliver the best possible infrastructure for the North Coast.
For more information on the project visit www.rta.nsw.gov.au/pacific and follow the links to the project.
Included is a virtual fly-over of the finished overpass.