First sod turned on Nambucca Heads to Urunga Pac Hwy upgrade
MAJOR work on the 22km upgrade of the Pacific Hwy from Nambucca Heads to Urunga started today.
Acting Prime Minister Warren Truss joined both Federal and State MPs Luke Hartsuyker and Andrew Fraser to turn the first sod on the $780 million project.
The Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development said the Nambucca Heads to Urunga upgrade would help eradicate a notorious Pacific Hwy black spot.
"This section of the Pacific Hwy recorded 49 crashes in the two years to March 2011, six of them involving fatalities," Mr Truss said.
"The project we started today will build a straighter, four-lane divided highway with grade-separated interchanges that separate local traffic from highway movements."
Works including utility relocations and the establishment of a site compound commenced late last year, with Lend Lease securing the contract to design and construct the upgrade.
Cowper MP Luke Hartsuyker welcomed the commencement of construction.
"I have been fighting hard to ensure the Urunga to Warrell Creek section of the highway is upgraded just as quickly as possible. In my view this has become the new fatigue zone on the Pacific Hwy between Sydney and Brisbane," Mr Hartsuyker said.
"The commencement of the Urunga to Nambucca Heads upgrade is therefore a very important part of duplicating the highway throughout the Nambucca Valley."
State Member for Coffs Harbour Andrew Fraser said the community had called for building to start as soon as possible.
"The Australian and NSW Governments have worked together to expedite the project to the building phase, with the upgrade of the Ballards Road intersection, building the project main site compound and survey and geotechnical work already underway," Mr Fraser said.
NSW Acting Premier Andrew Stoner, who was running extremely late for the project, said the project will involve constructing more than a stretch of divided road.
"This project also involves construction of a new rest area at the Nambucca Heads interchange to give both heavy and light vehicles more opportunities to take regular breaks and reach their destinations safely," Mr Stoner said.
"Weather permitting, we hope to see the upgrade completed and open to traffic in 2016."
The funding for the Nambucca Heads to Urunga section of the Pacific Hwy is being paid equally by the Australian and NSW governments.