Highway works 70% complete
THE Pacific Highway is one step closer to completion after the opening of 11 kilometres of upgraded highway between Halfway Creek to Glenugie.
Federal transport and infrastructure minister Darren Chester said more than 70% of the Pacific Highway upgrade project was already complete.
"That's thousands of jobs, its improving the lives of people on the route, but it's also saving lives, we've seen a halving in road trauma along this road since the work started," he said.
"It changes lives by improving productivity, reducing congestion and improving travel times.
"This is a fantastic project for regional NSW and it's great to see this stage open."
Mr Chester said when they started the upgrade, a lot of people were sceptical it would ever be completed.
"The progress now, 72% completed, is fantastic, we will get the work done by 2020," he said.
Member for Page, Kevin Hogan said the opening of this section brings the Pacific Highway closer to completion.
"Over the next six months about 830 kilometres of the upgrade is due to open to traffic, including 57 kilometres between Port Macquarie and Coffs Harbour and 26 kilometres north of Coffs Harbour," he said.
There is more work to be completed on the Halfway Creek to Glenugie section, with new lines being marked and landscaping on the agenda.
Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis said over the next few weeks, lanes will gradually open as these finishing touches are completed, weather permitting.
"All highway traffic now now temporarily divided into separate single lanes in each direction with an 80kmh speed limit," Mr Gulaptis said.
"However, the highway will progressively open in two lanes in each direction, which 100kmh speed limit."
Highway completion expected 2020
The next stages of the Pacific Highway upgrade are running on schedule according to transport minister Darren Chester.
"There is a lot of work going along the sections of the Pacific Highway in this part of the coast," he said.
"We're going to see more sections open before the end of this year, and the whole section, the Woolgoolga to Ballina section, the big piece of work is targeted by the middle of 2020," he said.
"A bit of that is weather dependant, so the crews can get in there and get the work done but there is a lot of progress going on."
Mr Chester said at peak times, there is up to 16,000 people working on the upgrade.
The 14-kilometre Woolgoolga to Ballina section of the highway is expected to save two and a half hours of travel time upon the completion of the overall Pacific Highway upgrade.