Upgrade on highway

THE change of State Government has added new momentum to the push to have the Pacific Highway dual carriageway upgrade completed by 2016.

Interim chairman of the Pacific Highway Taskforce, Bellingen Shire mayor Mark Troy, said the horrendous history of the highway spoke for itself.

“Since being formed the taskforce has sought and gained commitments from the (previous) State and Federal governments for the upgrade of the Pacific Highway to a four-lane dual carriageway between Hexham and the NSW-Queensland border by 2016,” Cr Troy said.

“In a letter to the taskforce dated March 17, 2011, Mr Stoner stated that a NSW Liberal/National government would immediately fast-track the upgrade with completion by 2016.

“As opposition shadow minister for roads, Mr Stoner was unable to meet with the taskforce at our meetings held in October and November last year, but as the member for Oxley Mr Stoner is acutely aware of the urgency to complete the highway upgrade.

“In fact, there was another tragic death on the notorious South Urunga black spot in Mr Stoner’s Oxley electorate on the very day, last Monday, he was sworn in as deputy premier.”

Cr Troy said a joint meeting of the taskforce, together with NOROC (Northern Rivers Regional Organisation of Councils), MIDGOC (Mid-North Coast Group of Councils), the Rural Doctors Alliance and the Doctors for a Safe Pacific Highway was scheduled for June.

“At this meeting we will determine actions in relation to meeting with Andrew Stoner and his Federal counterpart, Anthony Albanese,” he said.

“Given the strength of the Nationals’ representation in electorates affected by the upgrade there is a great expectation to deliver. I believe Mr Stoner will take that message to the Government.”

Cr Troy said since former NSW transport minister David Borger’s announcement regarding funding for Urunga-Nambucca safety improvements and repairs to the northern end of the Bellingen-Bowraville Road the RTA had announced $10 million funding for both projects.

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