Nov 29, 2011

Ballina Bypass opens ahead of schedule

After just three years of construction, the new Ballina Bypass has opened to traffic six months ahead of schedule – an achievement which will no doubt be welcomed by the local community as well as regular users of the Pacific Highway.

Federal Infrastructure and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese today joined with Page MP Janelle Saffin, Ballina MP Don Page and Ballina Shire Council Mayor Phil Silver to mark the occasion and celebrate yet another major milestone in the massive task of rebuilding the entire highway from Sydney to the Queensland border.

“With the bypass now in place, motorists and truck drivers can look forward to smoother, safer and better driving conditions,” said Mr Albanese.

“But the benefits of this new piece of road infrastructure won’t be limited to just those who drive on it.  It will also take 1,500 trucks and 6,500 cars a day off the local streets of Ballina, making this Northern Rivers town an even better place to live, work and raise a family.

“Up and down the NSW coast the vision of a modern, safe and fully duplicated Pacific Highway is finally starting to take shape.  In more good news for communities on the North Coast, work on the multi-million dollar project to duplicate the Tintenbar to Ewingsdale section will kick off early next year.”

The new Ballina Bypass was jointly funded by the Federal ($450 million) and NSW ($190 million) governments.

NSW Roads Minister Duncan Gay congratulated Roads and Maritime Services, alliance partners – Leighton Contractors, AECOM, SMEC and Coffey Geotechnics – and the 1,800 workers directly involved with the project on a job well done.

“It’s a tribute to their expertise and hard work that this large and complex engineering project has been completed on budget and ahead of schedule,” said Mr Gay.

“From today regular users of the highway can avoid the frustrating delays previously caused by having to negotiate five roundabouts, multiple traffic lights and a 60 km/h speed zone – an obstacle course through Ballina which added up to 12 minutes to a typical journey.

“What’s more, we’re confident the end product is a piece of infrastructure able to cater for the expected growth in traffic volumes, not just for the next three years but for the next three decades.”

Today’s opening of the main section from Teven Road to Cumbalum follows the March opening of the Cumbalum and Ross Lane section, with work on the last 2 kilometres south of Teven Road on track to be completed early in the New Year.