Works begin on Woolgoolga to Ballina upgrade

Media Release

WT191/2015

27 June 2015

Joint release with:

Duncan Gay

NSW Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight

Luke Hartsuyker

Member for Cowper

Kevin Hogan

Member for Page

Chris Gulaptis

Parliamentary Secretary for the North Coast

Andrew Fraser

Member for Coffs Harbour

The fully duplicated Pacific Highway upgrade between Woolgoolga and Ballina is one step closer with construction officially starting today.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss said today's sod turn at Corindi Beach was a symbol of the NSW and Australian government's commitment to a safer and more efficient Pacific Highway.

“The Australian Government is investing $5.64 billion into the vital Pacific Highway upgrade, one of the largest road infrastructure projects in New South Wales,” Mr Truss said.

“With 60 per cent of the highway already upgraded to a four lane divided road, the focus is now on the remaining 155 kilometre section between Woolgoolga and Ballina.”

New South Wales Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight Duncan Gay said this week the NSW Government announced they would commit $596 million as part of the 2015–16 Budget to fast-track upgrades on the highway.

“This commitment is part of a bigger funding package for this coming financial year, with the total of $1.4 billion in joint funding with the Federal Government being invested,” Mr Gay said.

“Today's sod turn is a great example of the NSW Government getting on with the job of delivering a fully duplicated Pacific Highway between Hexham and the QLD border by 2020.”

Federal Member for Cowper Luke Hartsuyker helped turn the first sod today for the 26 kilometre upgrade between Arrawarra and Glenugie and said the start of construction on the Woolgoolga and Ballina section would be warmly welcomed by North Coast residents.

“This upgrade will improve road safety by separating traffic and providing more rest opportunities for drivers,” Mr Hartsuyker said.

“It will also enhance economic efficiency by reducing travel times and fuel costs for transport operators and motorists. Access and amenity will also be improved for local residents through new interchanges and bypasses of towns along the route.”

Federal Member for Page Kevin Hogan said the project was also a massive injection for the region's economy.

The delivery partner, Pacific Complete has established their main office in Grafton and is expected to employ hundreds of people, which will be a significant boost to the local economy,” Mr Hogan said

“During construction peak, 4,000 people will work directly on upgrades, with a total of 12,000 people indirectly on upgrades. Major construction materials suppliers all the way down to local businesses will enjoy the flow-on benefits of construction.”

NSW Parliamentary Secretary for the North Coast Chris Gulaptis said the Woolgoolga to Ballina upgrade will be delivered under a Tailored Delivery Partner model, similar to that used to deliver the infrastructure for the 2012 London Olympics.

“This is the first time in Australia this model is being used to deliver an infrastructure project. This model will “turbo charge” construction, ensuring construction costs and time is managed efficiently,” Mr Gulaptis said.

“The model has been tailored to meet the specific needs of the Woolgoolga to Ballina section of highway, combining the knowledge and expertise of government expertise and knowledge in areas such as engineering and planning with that of the private industry.”

NSW Member for Coffs Harbour Andrew Fraser said the number of lives lost annually on this road has halved and is expected to decline further nearing the completion of the final section of highway.

“Motorists travelling the length of the Pacific Highway are already saving between 90 to 100 minutes in travel time and can expect to save around a further 40 minutes when the final section is completed in 2020.”

The Woolgoolga to Ballina upgrade is being jointly funded by the Australian and New South Wales Governments on an 80:20 basis.