Pacific toll hard to bear

COFFS Harbour Mayor Keith Rhoades is sickened by the carnage on the Pacific Highway.

He knows all too well the devastating impact fatalities have on families and friends, not only in his role as our civic leader but also as a firefighter who regularly attends crashes.

“I’ve been through some pretty horrific scenes over the past 36 years with NSW Fire Brigades,” Cr Rhoades said yesterday.

“The sooner the highway is upgraded, the better.”

Cr Rhoades and other North Coast mayors have invited Premier Kristina Keneally and Opposition Leader Barry O’Farrell on a joint inspection of the highway from Coffs Harbour to Ballina.

Cr Rhoades acknowledged projects already completed and those under way but he claims scant attention has been paid to the Woolgoolga to Ballina stretch.

He and his fellow Pacific Highway Taskforce mayors – Richie Williamson (Clarence Valley), Col Sullivan (Richmond Valley) and Phil Silver (Ballina) – have written to Ms Keneally and Mr O’Farrell asking them to tour this 200km stretch of road.

The mayors say the population between Coffs Harbour and Ballina is forecast to grow by more than 50,000 in the next 20 years and the area from Hexham to the Queensland border by 150,000, leading to a major increase in the use of the highway.



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