Clybucca crash site to be fixed
IN A history-making milestone for the Pacific Highway, the Federal and State governments yesterday announced the deadly Clybucca stretch will be fixed 22 years after the notorious bus crash cost 35 lives.
Standing on the roadside 12km north of Kempsey, where two tourist coaches crashed head-on on December 22, 1989, Federal Transport Minister Anthony Albanese and acting NSW Premier Andrew Stoner announced funding for the Frederickton to Eungai upgrade.
Duplication of the 26.5 kilometre section will begin next year with major construction to get under way in mid-2013.
"Given the many years of inaction and buckpassing, I am proud to be the federal Transport Minister who's been able to secure the funding and achieved the co-operation necessary to getting this job done," Mr Albanese said.
"We're here today because of (the community's) long and persistent campaign to have this road fixed once and for all. They know that far too many Australians have already lost their lives in accidents which could have been prevented.
"Despite our decision to triple the amount of federal dollars being invested in the highway, I'm the first to
acknowledge that there's still much to be done.
"That's why I also announced the bringing forward of $490 million to make sure the work now under way along this road can be completed as a matter of urgency."
Mr Stoner said the Frederickton to Eungai upgrade was the second stage of a much broader project, with the first being construction of the Kempsey Bypass that is now on track to be completed 12 months early in mid-2013.
"The horrific events at Clybucca more than 20 years ago left an indelible mark on our community and it is a relief to know that work will soon begin on this deadly stretch of road," Mr Stoner said.
"We will continue to work with the Federal Government to get the job done on the Pacific Highway."
Mr Stoner declared the Clybucca duplication the most important project in what is Australia's largest ever road infrastructure undertaking - the Pacific Highway upgrade.
Both tiers of government hope to finish the highway duplication by 2016, under an 80:20 Commonwealth to State funding split.
The Federal Government has committed $4.1 billion while the State Government has added a further $1 billion.