May 23, 2008

Pacific Highway upgrade delivering new Infrastructure

Pacific Highway upgrade delivering new Infrastructure

JOINT RELEASE

The Hon Anthony Albanese MP

Minister for Infrastructure, Transport,

Regional Development and Local Government

The Hon Eric Roozendaal MP

NSW Minister for Roads

Minister for Commerce

23 May 2008

The Australian and NSW governments today reaffirmed their commitment to the joint upgrade of the Pacific Highway during a Ministerial inspection of major construction work on the Coopernook to Herons Creek upgrade at Kew.

Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Anthony Albanese and NSW Roads Minister Eric Roozendaal today inspected the Mid North Coast project, which will complete a further 33km of dual carriageway on the Pacific Highway.

Mr Albanese said the Coopernook to Herons Creek project is the longest length of highway construction being carried out on the Pacific Highway and incorporates both the Coopernook to Moorland and Moorland to Herons Creek projects.

“Once complete, the Coopernook to Herons Creek upgrade will provide about 163km of continuous dual carriageway between Bulahdelah and Port Macquarie,” said Mr Albanese.

“The Rudd Labor Government’s first budget delivered $60 million for these critical projects as part of our $242.5 million commitment to this upgrade.

“The Rudd Labor Government has committed to invest $2.45 billion in upgrading the Pacific Highway – three times what the previous government allocated over a similar period of time.”

Mr Roozendaal said this project includes western bypasses of the villages of Moorland and Johns River and an eastern bypass of Kew.

“A major feature of the Coopernook to Herons Creek project is the construction of new twin bridges at Two Mile Creek, Moorland railway bridge, Pipe Clay Creek, Holey Flat Creek, Tom Cat Creek, Stoney Creek, Ross Glen railway bridge, Walkers Creek, and Herons Creek.

“Duplication bridges will be built over Stewarts River and the Camden Haven River.

“Overpasses will be built over the highway at Forest Road, Moorland, Stewarts River Road, Johns River and Ocean Drive, Kew.

"This important project will provide significant benefits to road users, including improved safety and reduced travel times.”

Low noise pavement will be used on sections of the highway adjacent to residential areas and noise walls and earth mounds will be constructed to reduce road traffic noise.

Preliminary construction work started in October 2007 with substantial construction commencing in January 2008. Work to date includes vegetation clearing, installing boundary fencing, major earthworks, pavement widening, installing drainage and constructing pavement and bridges.

Mr Albanese said the entire length of the Pacific Highway is now either completed, under construction or has a preferred route identified.

“The completed Pacific Highway upgrade will mean more than 660km of continuous dual carriageway from the F3 Freeway near Hexham to the Queensland border,” Mr Albanese said.

“More than 91km of the Pacific Highway is currently under construction while more than 263km has already been upgraded to double-lane divided road.”

Mr Roozendaal said 48 separate sections of the highway have been completed and the NSW Government had declared the project critical infrastructure because of its importance to NSW and the state’s economy.

“NSW is working co-operatively with the Rudd Labor Government to complete this critical link between Sydney and Brisbane as soon as possible, for the benefit of working families and the NSW and Australian economies.

“There’s more work to do and both governments are committed to getting on with the job of completing this nation-building road project.”

“While we can never be complacent, the road toll on the Pacific Highway between Hexham and the Queensland border has more than halved since 2003 as upgraded sections open to traffic and extensive road safety improvement packages are implemented.”

Work on the Coopernook to Herons Creek project is scheduled for completion in December 2009.

Further information on this major infrastructure project is available from the Pacific Highway section of the RTA website at http://www.rta.nsw.gov.au.