THE FIRST 80 of more than 4000 jobs generated from the $4 billion-plus upgrade of the Pacific Highway will come to Grafton soon.

The winning delivery partner for the upgrade of the Woolgoolga to Ballina section, Pacific Complete, has announced it will open a construction office for 80 staff as soon as it finds accommodation in the city.

Acting Prime Minister Warren Truss was in Grafton yesterday to make the announcement of the winning delivery partner, Pacific Complete.

WHAT A FEELING: Pacific Highway general manager Bob Higgins, project director Pacific Complete Chris Wilkinson, NSW Minister for Roads Duncan Gay and Acting Prime Minister Warren Truss get excited about the announcement of the preferred tender for the 155km stretch of Pacific Highway.
WHAT A FEELING: Pacific Highway general manager Bob Higgins, project director Pacific Complete Chris Wilkinson, NSW Minister for Roads Duncan Gay and Acting Prime Minister Warren Truss get excited about the announcement of the preferred tender for the 155km stretch of Pacific Highway. Adam Hourigan

Mr Truss said the completion of the 155km stretch will create a completely four-lane highway between Sydney and Brisbane.

The deputy PM said the use of the delivery partner model was also a first in Australia.

"Using a delivery partner is globally recognised as an innovative and effective way to get the best results for major infrastructure project," he said. "It has been used on large-scale projects such as the 2012 London Olympic Games.

"The model has been tailored to meet specific needs of the Woolgoolga to Ballina section of the highway, combining the knowledge and expertise of government in areas such as engineering and planning with that of the private industry."

NSW Roads Minister Duncan Gay was also in Grafton yesterday, promising the delivery partner mechanism would deliver the project on time in 2019 and under budget.

"The work that we are doing is crucial not only to helping save lives, but to creating jobs and better regional communities."

The Member for Page Kevin Hogan, whose electorate largely contains the last section of the upgrade, said at its peak 4000 people will be working on the road.

"A further 12,000 will be working indirectly on the upgrade Major construction materials suppliers all the way down to local businesses will enjoy the flow-on benefits of construction," Mr Hogan said.

Watching the politicians talk up their successes was one man whose life the highway has destroyed.

Former ambulance paramedic Wade Walker was grinning from ear to ear at the news.

"It was something I didn't think I'd live to see," he said.

"I have attended some horrible crashes on the highway, but I had a break down five years ago when I attended a crash at Ulmarra.

"Since then I have been speaking out about the highway and the need to have it upgraded to save lives."



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