Thousands walk through new upgrade
SEVERAL thousand locals yesterday took advantage of a dry morning to attend a community day for the new Banora Point upgrade.
It was a split decision as to who were the most delighted with the walk-through of the bypass and over the 330m metre-long viaduct - residents or the Roads and Maritime Services staff, many of whom have been on site since the commencement of the upgrade in 2008.
The friendly and obviously proud staff directed traffic - both pedestrian and vehicular - provided buggy rides for those a bit dodgy on their feet and manned project display stalls where they expertly, succinctly and patiently answered a plethora of questions from the general public.
The public began descending on the site at 8.30am and stayed to admire the project until noon.
Earlier in the morning, an official ceremony was held at which local politicians, RMS personnel and two representatives of the local Bundgalung people addressed a large gathering.
All three politicians, Federal Member for Richmond, Justine Elliot, State MP for Tweed, Geoff Provest and Tweed Shire Council Mayor, Barry Longland, commended the project and praised the RMS staff for their expertise and efforts in bringing the project to fruition.
Auntie Joyce Summers and Jackie McDonald welcomed everyone "to country" and they too were lavish in their praise of the multi-million dollar upgrade.
Ms Elliot said the upgrade was a vital improvement to local infrastructure.
"Like all locals I look forward to seeing this project reach completion and so it is great to see so many people turn up to see what the new road will be like," Ms Elliot said.
The southbound bypass will be opened at the end of March but the northbound section won't be ready for traffic until late June or early July.
The finishing touches to the arterial roads to access and egress the bypass are due for completion by December.
The $359 million upgrade was jointly funded by the Federal Government which provided $349 million under the Rudd Government's Nation Building Program, and $10 million from the NSW Government.