Preparations for the start of work on the upgrade of the Pacific Highway from Nambucca Heads to Urunga are well advanced, with the relocation of gas, electricity and telecommunication utilities expected to be completed later this month and a preferred builder to be selected by the end of the year.
Federal Infrastructure and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese said the pre-construction activities now underway between Boggy Creek and East West Road also includes the resumption of 65 properties (40 already acquired) and the completion of necessary environmental assessments.
“We’re on track to begin this upgrade by the middle of next year,” said Mr Albanese.
“The Nambucca Heads to Urunga project is part of the ongoing upgrade and full duplication of the Pacific Highway, the most expensive and complex road project ever undertaken in Australia.
“And the substantial work we have already completed is making a difference. Indeed, compared to the mid-90s the average journey between Newcastle and the Queensland border is now up to 90 minutes quicker while annual fatalities have fallen from the high 40s to 24 last year.”
Funding for the detailed planning work and other pre-construction activities along the 22-kilometre Nambucca Heads to Urunga section is being provided by the Federal ($74.1 million) and NSW ($44.9 million) governments.
NSW Roads Minister Duncan Gay said Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) has sought and received feedback from the local community about proposed refinements to the location and design of the Nambucca Heads interchange as well as the new rest area which will be built as part of the upgrade.
“An environmental assessment is now being compiled before a final decision is made on whether to accept the proposed design changes,” said Mr Gay.
“RMS has also notified the local residents identified as potentially needing noise mitigation measures and is working to determine the best solutions for their respective properties.”
As at 30 June 2012, 346 kilometres – or almost 52 per cent – of the Pacific Highway had been upgraded to ‘motorway standard’ and duplicated.
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