THE Pacific Highway will be renamed the A1 under the State's Government's controversial plans to rebadge NSW's major roads at a cost of $20 million.
Under the alpha-numeric system, the Sydney to Newcastle F3 and the Pacific Highway between the Queensland border and north of Byron Bay will become the M1 Pacific Motorway.
The Pacific Highway between Newcastle and Byron will be the northern section of the A1, while the southern sector of A1 will be the Princes Highway from Albion Park rail to the Victorian border.
Announced by NSW Roads Minister Duncan Gay today the renaming of more than 60 routes across the state would bring NSW into line with the systems used in Queensland and Victoria.
M would stand for motorways, A for routes of national significance, and B - routes of state significance.
"The changes will mean drivers can be confident travelling along the eastern seaboard that the road numbers all follow the same pattern, ending the confusion between states," Mr Gay said.
He said the new signage would start next March and be completed by December .
Acknowledging the $20 million cost of the exercise was a large amount of money to spend on new signage, Mr Gay said the move was long overdue and necessary.
"This has an economic benefit to the state, in that it allows our goods to move better, it helps our tourism, and it also has a safety outcome.
"Eventually it will help our safety vehicles to be able to find their way quicker," he said.
The Opposition labelled the move a waste of money and "complete madness."
"The people of NSW want their roads fixed and they want them built, they don't want them simply renamed," acting opposition roads spokeswoman Penny Sharpe said.
"Tourists already seem to get around NSW quite fine on their own, most cars actually have a GPS these days."
Richie Williamson of the Pacific Highway Taskforce said $20 million was a small amount compared to the overall expenditure to duplicate the highway, yet perhaps the renaming should have been delayed until the entire upgrade is completed.
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