The final section of road paving has been completed on the Pacific Highway, between between Wells Crossing and Glenugie. All of the upgrades combined will mean travel times between Hexham to the Queensland border have been reduced by 2 hours and 30 minutes.
Upgrades to the Pacific Highway have been taking place for 20 years, with a total of more than 40,00 workers on the job. The final section of upgrades is expected to open to drivers in 2020. Finishing works will continue in 2021.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the finish line for the duplication was now firmly in sight, after the final truckloads of material from local quarries made their way on site to complete travel lanes.
“The greatest dividend from this investment is the improvement in safety for road users – whether you’re travelling on it every day or once a year on family holidays,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.
“The death toll on the highway has reduced by more than 50 per cent since work began to make the entire length four lane dual carriageway.”
He said there will be 170 new bridges along the highway upon completion and the travel distance between Woolgoolga and Ballina will be about 13 kilometres shorter or 25 minutes quicker.
“We want to get people where they need to be sooner and safer and upon completion, the Pacific Highway upgrades will mean that people can get from Hexham to the Queensland border in two and a half hours less time than they would have previously, before the upgrades started.”
New South Wales Acting Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Paul Toole said the Pacific Highway duplication was a huge undertaking, made even more challenging by bushfires and COVID-19. He thanked the workforce for getting the job done and the north coast of NSW for supporting the project.
“It is the culmination of over two decades of work on the Pacific Highway, but the final section, the Woolgoolga to Ballina upgrade, has been a mammoth task in itself,” Toole said.
He said over the past five years crews have moved more than 15 million cubic metres of earth, pumped 785,000 cubic metres of concrete and paved 240,000 tonnes of asphalt on the final section.
“This section of the upgrade alone has been an important economic and employment driver for northern NSW, with 3000 people directly employed at its peak and many other indirect jobs created by the project,” he said.
“The project engaged 10 local quarries to supply the rock, sand and gravel required for pavement and other construction activities, including earthwork and drainage.”
Wells Crossing to Glenugie is the final section to be upgraded, with eight kilometres of improvements.
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