After almost three years of continuous work, the relocation of thousands of tonnes of earth and the construction of a new 330 metre long viaduct bridge, the upgrade of the Pacific Highway at Banora Point has been completed on time and on budget.
Federal Infrastructure and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese today joined Richmond MP Justine Elliot and the local community to celebrate the completion of the upgrade and the re-opening of nearby Wilson Park, which was rejuvenated as part of this $359 million project.
“Today, Federal Labor honours the commitment we gave prior to being elected in 2007. When it comes to infrastructure, Federal Labor means and does what it says,” said Mr Albanese.
“I especially want to acknowledge Justine Elliot whose strong advocacy secured the necessary funding for this project in the first place.
“Here on the North Coast we’ve already committed more than $1 billion towards upgrading the region’s road infrastructure. In addition to the Banora Point Upgrade, we’ve also built new bypasses of Alstonville and Ballina as well as started work on upgrading the Pacific Highway at Devils Pulpit.
“What’s more, the duplication of the Pacific Highway between Tintenbar and Ewingsdale is expected to kick-off in coming weeks.”
Ms Elliot said the improvements made will deliver smoother, safer and less congested driving conditions for the 55,000 vehicles which use this stretch of the Pacific Highway each day.
“I am delighted that this day has finally arrived. In partnership with the local community, I lobbied hard to secure the money required to make this project happen, and today Federal Labor delivers,” said Ms Elliot.
“As well as improving safety and shortening travel times, this project has also eliminated the last set of traffic lights between Coffs Harbour and Brisbane’s CBD, a distance of almost 400 kilometres.
Begun in December 2009, the Banora Point Upgrade was funded by both the Federal ($349 million) and NSW Governments ($10 million).
NSW Roads Minister Duncan Gay said the project put some 250 people to work upgrading a vital piece of road infrastructure, with the final product designed to cater for the community’s needs, not just for the next three years but for the next three decades.
“After years of planning work, community consultations and construction, the local community, as well as regular users of the Pacific Highway, can now enjoy the considerable benefits that will flow from this major upgrade.”