Pacific Hwy upgrade 'plausible'

PLANS to finish the Pacific Highway upgrade by 2016 remain “plausible” despite predictions of huge cost blow-outs, Deputy Premier Andrew Stoner has said.

Infrastructure Australia released a report this month that cast doubt over the State and Federal governments’ ability to finish the upgrade.

The report stated the expected costs of completing the highway by 2016 would be $8-9 billion.

The report said further works near Raymond Terrace and Coffs Harbour could make the final estimation $10 billion.

Mr Stoner, who is also the Minister for Regional Infrastructure and Services, conceded yesterday the higher bill made the job harder, but told The Northern Star the 2016 completion date remained “plausible as long as both governments commit to it”.

“We have always committed to it as long as the Federal Government is there with us and to share the costs,” Mr Stoner said.

“We can’t do it without the Federal Government,” he said. “If they are backing away from the 2016 deadline, then that’s bad news.”

However, it was only a few weeks ago Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Anthony Albanese’s office suggested it was the NSW Government that needed to step up its game.

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