FOUR firms have been awarded contracts for the detailed design of major work on the remaining sections of the Woolgoolga to Ballina section of the Pacific Highway upgrade.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss said the design work has been divided into four sections to fast-track construction - ensuring the final 155 kilometre section of the Pacific Highway upgrade opens to traffic by the end of the decade as promised.
"With major work advancing across the first 26 kilometres between Woolgoolga and Glenugie, the focus is now on preparing the remaining sections for major work," Mr Truss said.
"Project delivery partner Pacific Complete is now progressing detailed design work across all remaining sections of the highway upgrade."
Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight Duncan Gay said a workforce of more than 450 road designers would be mobilised to complete the work so building can start next year.
"The detailed design work will involve finalising road features such as drainage, and the locations of animal crossing structures such as culverts and underpasses to minimise the impact on species like emus and koalas.
"This is on top of 2500 direct jobs across the whole Pacific Highway upgrade which have been created, and as work on the Woolgoolga to Ballina upgrade increases, direct jobs will peak at 4000," Mr Gay said.
Federal Member for Page Kevin Hogan said he was looking forward to other milestones being reached on the Woolgoolga to Ballina upgrade, with completion of the full Pacific Highway upgrade on track for completion by the end of the decade.
"Separate design and build contracts will be announced for the Clarence and Richmond river crossings, which need to take into account flood modelling," Mr Hogan said.
"With a range of works already underway, many residents are already seeing benefits from this upgrade."
Federal Member for Cowper Luke Hartsuyker said the awarding of the four design contracts is another significant step forward for the Woolgoolga to Ballina upgrade.
"Design work will be completed by GHD Pty Ltd for the highway between Glenugie and Maclean. Arcadis Australia Pty Limited and Beca Pty Ltd between Maclean and Devils Pulpit. Arup Pty Ltd and Cardno (NSW/ACT) Pty Ltd between Devils Pulpit and Broadwater, and SMEC Australia Pty Ltd for between Broadwater and Pimlico," Mr Hartsuyker said.
"These firms have been chosen due to their expertise and I am looking forward to seeing the design work finalised and the project progress."
Member for Clarence and Parliamentary Secretary for the North Coast Chris Gulaptis said about 400 kilometres of the Pacific Highway have now been upgraded.
"The Woolgoolga to Ballina upgrade will see the completion of the Pacific Highway upgrade and will improve road safety by reducing accidents by more than 25 per cent," Mr Gulaptis said.
"Awarding these design contracts will involve refinements to ensure the best safety outcomes are delivered for the community. Residents and motorists will be kept informed of progress on the detailed design."
The Woolgoolga to Ballina section of the Pacific Highway upgrade is jointly funded by the Australian and New South Wales governments on an 80:20 basis.