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RTA tight lipped

TUESDAY night’s near fatal has again got people wondering when the notorious stretch of highway south of Urunga will be upgraded and bypassed.

It’s a question the Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA) yesterday couldn’t answer, saying only that funding has not yet been made available

The Member for Coffs Harbour, Andrew Fraser, is angry and is demanding that the Auditor General must now do a performance audit of the RTA in relation to funding of the Pacific Highway.

“Whilst the Bonville deviation has been completed, the increasing number of accidents north and south of Coffs Harbour now shows that the accident zones have shifted. This also proves that divided carriageways save lives,” Mr Fraser said.

“The State Government needs to urgently conduct similar works to those that have been done south of Ballina, and put barricades down the centre of the road, so that if someone does venture towards the centre of the road, they will hit the barrier rather than an on-coming B-double or other vehicle,” he said.

“I am still bewildered as to why the Urunga bypass did not follow the completion of the Bonville bypass as it is my belief that the environmental studies had been completed, planning was under way and the route was selected in December 2005,” Mr Fraser added.

“Planning and pre-construction of the Warrell Creek to Urunga section of the Highway so far has had $23.4 million expended to the end of June 2009, a further $27.9 million to the end of June 2010 with a further allocation of $20 million for the year 2010/11, bringing the total of planning and pre-construction of this section of road to $71.3 million and yet no start date for construction has been announced.

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