Pacific Hwy upgrade open
UPGRADES to a dangerous section of the Pacific Highway are done and dusted, with the 7km stretch of road between Ballina and Grafton opened to traffic on Friday.
The road is now a four-lane divided road, which includes a new rest at Tabbimoble to help prevent fatigue-related accidents.
The Devils Pulpit upgrade is part of a $5.64billion Federal Government plan to duplicate the entire Pacific Hwy by the end of the decade.
Federal Member for Page Kevin Hogan, who was at the opening, said the completion of Devils Pulpit meant 58% of the Pacific Hwy between Hexham and the Queensland border was now a four-lane divided road.
"It's obviously really important that we continue the ongoing duplication of the highway," he said.
"We had Mr and Mrs Thomas there (at the launch), and their daughter was tragically killed on this section of the highway about a decade ago."
Mr Hogan said besides the economic and job creating benefits, one of the primary reasons for the upgrade was to reduce fatalities.
"This was prioritised because it was a dangerous area, and it was wonderful to open it to cars today."
Both the State and Federal Governments contributed to the $80million Devils Pulpit project, which was originally scheduled for completion in 2013 but delayed due to wet weather.
The completion of the Tintenbar Ewingsdale upgrade, originally scheduled for mid to late 2014, has also been delayed due to weather.
Mr Hogan said the Tintenbar Ewingsdale upgrade was now expected to be completed early next year.
New South Wales Minister for Roads and Ports, Duncan Gay, said the Devils Pulpit upgrade would deliver a significantly safer driving experience.
"The project targeted crash prevention through barrier installation, and incorporates a new roadside rest area to help prevent driver fatigue," Mr Gay said.