$27 million service centre to create 200 jobs
WORK on a long-awaited $27 million highway service centre at Ballina is due to start within weeks.
It will be built at the rest area at the Teven Rd interchange - at the junction of the Bruxner and Pacific highways - and is expected to create about 200 jobs.
The development application was approved through the Joint Regional Planning Panel in December 2017.
BP Australia will build and operate the 24-hour highway service centre on land owned by Roads and Maritime Services.
According to the town planning reports lodged with Ballina Shire Council, the development will include:
- Petrol station
- Convenience store
- Wild Bean cafe and coffee lounge
- Three food outlets (one with a drive-through)
- Tourist information centre
- Dining area
- Outdoor dining area
- Children's playground
- Truckers' lounge
- More than 150 car parks.
"Employment opportunities for up to 200 people can be created by a highway service centre from building through to operation," a spokesman from the RMS said.
It is understood about 50 of those jobs will be full-time positions once construction is complete.
At the moment, the site is a truck rest area, but also regularly used by motorhomers and caravanners as a camp site, despite a "no camping" sign being installed in late 2017.
The RMS has now advised that the rest area will be permanently closed in late February.
"Work on the new Ballina highway service centre on this site is due to start in early March," the RMS explained in a statement.
"In preparation, work to close the service roads that access the rest area from Pacific Highway and Bruxner Highway will be carried out from 7am on Monday, February 18, weather permitting.
"A reduced speed limit will be in place at this time for the safety of workers and motorists.
"Motorists are advised to drive to the conditions, follow the direction of signs and traffic control.
"Electronic message boards will be in place to remind motorists the access to the rest area is closed."
Alternative rest areas can be found to the north and south of Ballina by using the online NSW Rest Area map on the Roads and Maritime Services website.