Sexton upgrade gets go-ahead
SEXTON Hill resident Lisa Wischnevsky can't wait until 2012, when the Banora Point Upgrade is completed and the daily car accidents outside her family home become a thing of the past.
The P-plate driver said she and her family are excited that the upgrade of the notorious black spot was given planning approval by the NSW Government yesterday and the news that construction of the $310 million project will be fast-tracked with work starting later this year.
“There is an accident on Sexton Hill nearly every day and the noise from the traffic can be unbearable, although I am used to it because I have lived here all my life,” the 18-year-old resort receptionist said.
“I know it will be noisy during construction of the new road, and that we will probably still have the inconvenience of driving towards Tweed Heads before we can drive south over Sexton Hill.
“But it is a small price to pay to not hear the sound of car accidents every day and to know that it will be safer to pull out of our driveway.
“We already have to head down the hill and take the Banora Point exit and come under the highway if we want to travel over Barneys Point Bridge and have to turn into Terranora Road and come back down the highway to access our driveway, so we are used to inconvenience.
Member for Richmond Justine Elliot and NSW Minister for Roads Michael Daley announced yesterday construction of the viaduct option, or Option B design for the upgrade of Sexton Hill, would begin six months ahead of schedule at the end of this year.
The project, which has been on the drawing board for more than a decade, will be completed by the end of 2012, with the first car set to drive the 2.5 kilometre six-lane, 100 km/h speed limit road by mid-2012.
Minister Daley said the upgrade would include a 330 metre viaduct, or elevated roadway, to start at Barneys Point Bridge and run across the valley south of Sexton Hill, with a new interchange allowing for drivers travelling northbound to have direct access to Darlington Drive at Banora Point.
Drivers travelling south will have direct access to Tweed Heads South with an exit ramp connecting the new road to Mindjungbal Drive.
Localised traffic will use the existing Pacific Highway, with the realignment of Laura Street with Short Street on the existing road, and a four-way set of traffic lights installed to control the flow of traffic.An animated fly-over of the upgraded road is on the RTA's website.
But not everyone is happy about the design of the upgrade, after a push by some members of the community for the road to tunnel through, rather than travel over Sexton Hill.
Head of the Tweed Chamber of Commerce, Michael Tree said his business group have been strong supporters of the Community Highway Action Group's Option C, or Sexton Hill tunnel design, and he believes the approved, modified design would create more chaos for local road users.
“I'd like the RTA to tell me how reducing the lanes accessing Tweed Heads South, both north and southbound, from three to one is going to improve traffic in the area, when the current roads are already congested?” Mr Tree said.
“It seems illogical that when an area like ours is experiencing rapid and sustained population and business growth that they would limit the access to one of the major commercial, retail and industrial areas for the Tweed.”
Mr Tree agreed with Member for Tweed Geoff Provest that the road design was to convenience “B-doubles and through traffic more than locals.”
What do you think of the upgrade plans?