$640m bypass lasting legacy for its builders
WHEN Jason Bashforth was a lad, his dad would lift him up on to his bulldozer and tell him stories about roads he helped build.
Now a father himself, the Tintenbar man, who is helping to construct the Ballina bypass, is looking forward to the day he will drive with his daughter on the new section of highway and tell her how he helped to build it.
“I'm really proud of the work I've done and love sharing it with her,” Mr Bashforth, the earthworks leading hand for the project, said.
“This is a massive project, but there are tiny little things that are your footprint.
“We leave a legacy behind, and the work we do will be here for the next 50 years or more.”
Mr Bashforth is one of more than 100 people who have been approved to work on the $640 million bypass project, the majority of whom are locals.
His working day starts at 6am, when he arrives at the site.
After a meeting with other team members they get to work - moving earth, dumping sand, cutting fill and installing drainage.
It is a 12-hour working day, five days a week, with a six-hour shift on the sixth day.
Mr Bashforth admitted it could be exhausting, and the job meant he did not get a lot of time to spend with his family during the week.
However, he said it was his passion, so he did not mind too much.
“I love the noise, the dirt and seeing the site change as the project progresses,” he said.
“The most rewarding part is when you look at the drawings, then you get a picture in your head, and then you see what we build match up with what's on the paper.
“It's also financially rewarding, because if you are willing to put in the effort over five years or so, you can make a lot of money to help set you up for the future.”
The Ballina bypass will add an extra 12 kilometres of dual carriageway on the Pacific Highway.
Construction of the joint State and Federal government-funded project is expected to be complete by mid-2012.