$10m to fix busy road
ONE of the Northern Rivers' busiest roads will get a $10 million makeover if theCoalition wins the August 21 Federal election, Nationals Leader Warren Truss has announced.
Mr Truss said yesterday a Coalition government would pump $10 million into upgrading the Lismore-Bangalow road to improve some of its danger spots and add more passing lanes.
At present the 32km winding road has only one east-bound passing lane, just outside Bexhill, and one west-bound passing lane east of Clunes.
Delivering the announcement from under an umbrella at a rainy press conference beside the road at Boat Harbour, Mr Truss was unable to say precisely which sections of the road would change, including how many new passing lanes would be built or where they would go.
Mr Truss said a Coalition government would consult with the Lismore and Byron shire councils, and with the Roads and Traffic Authority, for the best way to use the $10 million.
“This is an important road that carries a lot of traffic,” Mr Truss said.
“It's a vital connection to the Pacific Highway and it's important to provide a proper access.”
Mr Truss said the road had been tagged by Page and Richmond Nationals candidates Kevin Hogan and Alan Hunter as needing a substantial upgrade.
He conceded the money on offer would not fully upgrade the entire road, but would fund some substantial improvements.
“It's a big improvement on what would be here otherwise, which would be nothing if not for this commitment of ours,” he said.
Mr Truss said projects such as the Lismore-Bangalow road upgrade had previously been funded through the former Coalition government's AusLink program.
“In government we will reinstate AusLink and ensure that the AusLink program provides funding for regional roads that are so important for local communities.
“We will keep the Roads to Recovery program, a Coalition initiative that supports rural councils struggling to maintain road assets in the face of Labor's indifference.”
Mr Hogan, who lives at Clunes and is a regular user of the road, was reluctant to say where he would like to see new passing lanes constructed.
“I just know we need more of them,” he said. “There's only one passing lane between here and Bangalow.”
Lismore councillor and Nationals member Graham Meineke said the upgrade was also important as a way of keeping the Bruxner Highway and Ballina Road through Lismore from overloading once the Pacific Highway upgrades and Alstonville bypasses were complete.