Investigators returned to the scene of the Urunga crash as the Federal Government increased funding for the Pacific Hwy upgrade.
Investigators returned to the scene of the Urunga crash as the Federal Government increased funding for the Pacific Hwy upgrade. Frank Redward

Highway tragedy probe continues

AS THE Federal Government signed off on its budget containing increased Pacific Hwy funding, police continued to collect evidence for the inquests into Urunga's double fatality in January.

Investigators yesterday returned to the accident scene, where young Max MacGregor, 11, was killed after a B-double crashed through his family's holiday house.

It's now five months since the tragedy, which also claimed the life of David John Levitt, 38, of Nambucca Heads, after the ute he was driving ended up in the path of the truck.

Yet despite the Federal Government adding $3.56 billion to its Nation Building Program and listing the Pacific Hwy as a high priority there's still no certain time frame for the Nambucca Heads to Urunga Pacific Highway upgrade.

The government's own paperwork indicates work will start on the project in 2012/13 but states the "federal contribution is to be finalised".

Transport and Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese said the project and the entire 2016 Pacific Hwy completion date could be met if the State Government matches the federal funding.

Mr Albanese said an extra $7.1 billion over and above what the Federal and State governments have committed is needed to finish the highway duplication.

"Getting this job done will require an equal partnership between both levels of government," Mr Albanese said.

Premier Barry O'Farrell accused the Gillard Government of breaking its commitment to an 80:20 funding split.

State Roads Minister Duncan Gay said Mr Albanese signed off on an 83:17 highway funding split in 2009 and at the last state budget the Coalition allocated an extra $468 million, establishing a firm 80:20 split.

 

PACIFIC HIGHWAY BUDGET

PROJECTS UNDERWAY

  • Duplication of the section between Sapphire and Woolgoolga.
  • Federal contribution: $632 million.
  • Construction of the new Bulahdelah Bypass.
  • Federal contribution: $303.6 million.
  • Straightening the section between Herons Creek and Stills Road.
  • Federal contribution: $53 million.
  • Construction of the new Kempsey Bypass.
  • Federal contribution: $618 million.
  • Straightening of the Banora Point section.
  • Federal contribution: $349 million.
  • Duplication of the Devils Pulpit section.
  • Federal contribution: $62 million.

PROJECTS TO START

In addition, work will start on the following major projects during the coming financial year (2012-13):

  • Duplication of the section between Tintenbar and Ewingsdale.
  • Federal contribution: $566.1 million.
  • Duplication of the section between Frederickton to Eungai.
  • Federal contribution: To be finalised.
  • Duplication of the section between Nambucca and Urunga.
  • Federal contribution: To be finalised.


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