The Federal Labor Government has approved a further $282.3 million to complete the necessary planning and pre-construction activities along the 155 kilometre Woolgoolga to Ballina section of the Pacific Highway.
Federal Infrastructure and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese said the package of preparatory works had been fast-tracked with the aim of getting construction workers and their equipment onsite upgrading this stretch of highway as soon as possible.
“Once underway, this multi-billion project will re-route the Highway to the east of Grafton, build ten major interchanges, erect new bridges across the Clarence and Richmond rivers as well as install strategically located wildlife crossings,” said Mr Albanese.
“Rebuilding the Pacific Highway is the largest, most complex nation building road project ever undertaken in Australia and Federal Labor remains committed to completing it sooner rather than later.
“Already we’ve committed our share of the funding required to get the job done – an unprecedented $7.9 billion – and over the next twelve months alone, work will begin and continue along more than 165 kilometres of this vital road.
“Importantly, the progress we have already made is making a real difference. Indeed, compared to the mid-1990s, journey times between Hexham and the Queensland border are now up to 90 minutes quicker and annual fatalities have halved from the high 40s to 20 last year.”
Page MP Janelle Saffin said starting where the Glenugie Upgrade finished off, the new funding will put up to 1,000 people to work, both directly and indirectly, surveying and terrain modelling the route as well as treating soft soil sites at Harwood, south of Woodburn, north of Broadwater and between Tyndale and Maclean.
“The money will also be used to progress the detailed planning work, complete the necessary land acquisitions and obtain the required environmental approvals,” said Ms Saffin.
“In addition, a two kilometre section of the Highway connecting to the southern end of the new Ballina Bypass will be duplicated and new bridges over Duck and Emigrant creeks erected.”
The NSW Government has agreed to match the Federal contribution to this package of works dollar-for-dollar, taking the total funding available to $564.6 million.