HARD WORK: Pacific Highway crews work with a paver that helps level the concrete that will become the new highway. The crews can complete  800-1200m a day.
HARD WORK: Pacific Highway crews work with a paver that helps level the concrete that will become the new highway. The crews can complete 800-1200m a day. Caitlan Charles

'Highway of Horror' soon to be no more

IT WAS KNOWN as the Highway of Horror, getting its name for the high number of fatalities along the Pacific Highway.

But now, with the new Pacific Highway section between Woolgoolga and Ballina 50 per cent complete, Roads Minister Melinda Pavey is excited about the future of transport on the North Coast.

"Crash rates are already down, people aren't dying like they used to," she said.

The biggest concrete paving project in Australia, requiring more than 750,000 cubic metres of concrete, the new highway is an investment that needed to happen, according to Ms Pavey.

"Sadly a huge amount of that impetus came following the two bus crashes, one here in this precinct at Cowper and another in my electorate in Clybucca," she said.

"It awoke the nation that we needed to invest in infrastructure outside the cities."

Ms Pavey said this will make travelling from Melbourne to Queensland a lot easier, taking the pressure off smaller towns to deal with high traffic and transport.

Member for Page Kevin Hogan said the highway will also help during times of flood.

"Improved flood measures and more available alternative routes will further help to improve travel reliability and increase safety," he said.

"Reaching halfway is a big milestone for the Pacific Highway upgrade. It's worth noting that 26km of the new highway has been opened between Woolgoolga and Glenugie with major work under way on the remaining sections of the 155km corridor.

"There is still a lot more work to go, but we're getting closer to providing a safer highway."

While the project is now 50 per cent complete, there are still a few kinks for the State and Federal governments to iron out.

Ms Pavey said she's aware of the issues with heavy vehicles using Eight Mile Lane, and she and Clarence MP Chris Gulaptis have spoken about the issue.

"We are looking at those issues, analysing those concerns and whether it would make the difference that people expect," she said.

"But we need to remember the vast majority of freight is still going to be on the highway.

"We will continue to have conversations and discussions about that, Chris has raised the concerns with me, but it's a good problem that we have to work through."

The Pacific Highway upgrade is a joint State and Federal government project.



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