Mayor Richie Williamson thinks it’s outrageous that the State Government won’t fast-track the upgrade of the Pacific Highway in the Valley.
Mayor Richie Williamson thinks it’s outrageous that the State Government won’t fast-track the upgrade of the Pacific Highway in the Valley.

Death Valley not top priority

DESPITE claiming nine lives this year, the upgrade of the Clarence Valley section of the Pacific Highway is not a priority, according to the State Government.

Assistant Transport Minister David Borger this week outlined the Government’s list of priority for upgrades of Pacific Highway sections.

The Clarence Valley section came in last. Work could be held up by at least five years.

Clarence Valley Mayor Richie Williamson said it was disappointing that the State Government did not prioritise the deadly stretch of highway through the Clarence for upgrading into dual carriageway.

“This section of road is deadly, yet it remains a low priority,” Cr Williamson said.

“It’s bordering on outrageous. I think the State Government should review its priority system to include statistics of fatal and serious crashes, not just traffic counts.”

Mr Borger said the Government was committed to completing three key sections of highway by 2014: Hexham to Port Macquarie; Ballina to Queensland; and, sections surrounding Coffs Harbour.

Hexham to Coffs Harbour was the next priority, followed finally by the Clarence Valley to Ballina section.

Cr Williamson said the local stretch of highway was a disgrace and needed urgent attention.

“This is a national highway that is no better in places than a local road,” he said.

“We’ve got sections of the road that are falling into the river.

“It seems easier for them to stick up an 80km sign than to get on and fix the problem.”

Cr Williamson said council wrote a letter to NSW Roads Minister David Campbell several months ago, seeking an urgent meeting to discuss the highway.

Mr Campbell’s department has not replied.



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