THE traffic bottleneck at Macksville is one giant step closer to being a thing of the past.
This morning the first sod was turned to commence construction of the 20km Warrell Creek to Nambucca Heads section of the Pacific Hwy upgrade.
On hand for the ceremony were Federal Member for Cowper Luke Hartsuyker, Nationals candidate for Oxley Melinda Pavey MLC and Nambucca Shire councillor Martin Ballangarry OAM.
Costing $830 million to design and build, this section of the highway will ease the current level of traffic congestion in the area - where queues as long as 12km are not unheard of at Christmas time.
The upgrade will see traffic bypass Macksville, with Macksville Bridge to be replaced by a high level twin bridge crossing of the Nambucca River, in addition to the new twin bridges east of the existing crossing at Warrell Creek.
Construction includes creating four-lane divided roads and new bridges and overpasses.
It is estimated the project will be completed in late 2017, with a full duplication of the Pacific Hwy expected by the end of the decade.
To date, nearly 400 kilometres of road between Hexham and Woolgoolga have been upgraded to a four-lane divided road, or are currently under construction.
The Warrell Creek to Nambucca Heads section is the last part of the project to commence construction between Port Macquarie and Coffs Harbour.