100km/h signage on new Pacific Highway upgrade near Devils Pulpit.
100km/h signage on new Pacific Highway upgrade near Devils Pulpit.

EXPLAINED: Why the short slowdown on new highway?

The new Pacific Highway upgrade has shortened travel times throughout the Northern Rivers dramatically, with more than 20 minutes being taken off several routes.

However, many people have noted the change of speed limit in one of the final sections to open, a 15 kilometre stretch between Devils Pulpit and Woodburn.

A Transport for NSW spokeswoman confirmed that this was determined to a number of factors relating to the standard of the highway and access needs.

"Speed limits on the Woolgoolga to Ballina Pacific Highway upgrade are determined on a number of factors, including whether the section is built to arterial standard (referred to as Class A) or motorway standard (referred to as Class M)," she said.

"This section between Devils Pulpit and Woodburn has been built to Class A and involves multiple direct local road accesses and U-turn bays. As such, this section has a posted speed limit of 100km/h."

Section of new Pacific Highway upgrade.
Section of new Pacific Highway upgrade.

The spokeswoman said the final section of the Woolgoolga to Ballina upgrade opened to dual carriageway in December 2020, with finishing work continuing this year.

While this finishing work would not allow the piece of road to be upgraded to Class M, she said it was possible for the road to be upgraded in the future to meet the higher standard.

According to Transport for NSW, Class A roads comprises of two lanes in each direction and retains some direct local access. Posted speed limits may vary depending on the road environment.

Class M in comparison, has a posted speed of 110 kilometres per hour and access to the motorway is only available from grade-separated interchanges.

100km/h signage on new Pacific Highway upgrade near Devils Pulpit.
100km/h signage on new Pacific Highway upgrade near Devils Pulpit.

These interchanges involve one road passing over another, with ramps allowing for access between the roads.

About 100 kilometres of the upgrade between Woolgoolga and Ballina is Class M and the remaining 55 kilometres is Class A.

Along the section of road, access is via left in and left out exits only.

According to Transport for NSW, movement onto the upgrade is left in and left out because safety is improved as potential conflict points are removed and where required, acceleration and deceleration lanes are provided.

"There are a number of direct property accesses in Class A sections of the upgrade. These are also restricted to left in and left out movements."

For more information visit the website at https://www.pacifichighway.nsw.gov.au/



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