Gooley wants highway upgrade
FURIOUS local businessman Steve Gooley has had enough of the buck passing over the Pacific Highway.
He lost three mates – two were about to be engaged – in the Cowper bus smash near Grafton in 1989 and he’s stunned by the apathy still shown by our political leaders over the highway upgrade.
Mr Gooley, the general manager of Bachrach Group that owns and operates commercial developments including Park Beach Plaza, felt compelled to speak out after comments made in Coffs Harbour last week by NSW Regional Development Minister Ian Macdonald.
Mr Macdonald said a “cost-benefit analysis” was needed to underpin the $6 billion to complete the missing dual carriageway sections of the highway on the North Coast.
“That was just a disgrace. It obviously came from someone with no understanding of the issue,” Mr Gooley said.
“For someone to say you need a cost analysis, what about the 50 deaths a year on the Pacific Highway? That’s the cost analysis – people.
“In 1995/96, then Roads Minister Carl Scully announced they would have the highway finished to dual carriageway in 10 years.
“Every three or four years they push that out another two or three years and now it’s 2019. You and I know that’s not going to happen.”
Mr Gooley said it was unacceptable to have to negotiate sections of the Pacific Highway.
“It’s like being in a Third World country. It’s unacceptable for the amount of traffic on the highway not to have the infrastructure in place,” he said.
“We need to fast-track the highway upgrade by releasing more money and making more contractors available to do the work. It’s just got to be done, no matter how much it costs.”