Local firms picking up early highway work

THREE Clarence Valley businesses are showing it's possible for local firms to win Pacific Highway contract work even before work on the Clarence Valley section begins.

The chief executive officer of Herb Blanchard Haulage, Robert Blanchard, said his trucks would carry 124 loads of T-barrier concete sections from their construction site at Rocla Concrete at Koolkhan to the construction site at Arrawarra.

Another local company, Wicks and Parker, has been contracted to do the crane work, lifting the concrete sections on and off the trucks at both ends of the journey.

Mr Blanchard said his company's contract showed it was possible for Valley firms to win work on the highway.

"This is not even the 155km section coming through the Valley," he said.

He said his trucks were contracted by a company out of Victoria to carry the concrete sections to the site.

"Originally it was going to be carrying them from Brisbane to Arrawarra, which was a much bigger job," he said.

"But it made more sense for them to take them from Grafton to Arrawarra, which is really a short distance for us."

He said there his company would devote three trucks to the job, which it should be able to accommodate in its normal operation.

"It will mean we're busy for a while, but it's really a short-term job," he said.

Mr Blanchard said his trucks had also carted a load and a half of concrete blocks used as foundations for demountable buildings on the highway site.

He was waiting to hear from about a deal to bring pre-constructed road bridge here from Albury.

The managing director of Wicks and Parker, Anthony Wicks, said it was good to get this sort of work, because it was a quiet time in construction.

"It gives us a bit of an injection of work," he said. "But it shows people around here they can be confident some of this work will come to local businesses.

"There's certain things you have to get up to standard, but it's worth your while to do it."

Rocla Koolkhan's senior production officer Graham Guilfoyle said he could not comment on the job yet, but said the company should be prepared to release information next week.

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