Another part of bypass in place
THE opening of the Teven Rd overpass near Ballina has been described by local politicians as a "milestone".
Federal MP Janelle Saffin and State MP Don Page attended the opening on Saturday.
They insisted the new road would benefit locals.
"The bypass from Ballina is two things - it's safety and it saves time, making people's lives better in the local community," Ms Saffin said.
The Teven Rd overpass cost approximately $240 million and was finished within budget and ahead of time. Only one stage of the Ballina bypass is still to be completed.
"Work on the final section of the new bypass, the Bruxner Hwy connection, is progressing at a pace and is expected to be completed in April, weather permitting," Mr Page said.
He said the Ballina bypass was a "good thing for the local econ- omy".
"We've been very fortunate during tough economic times that we've had such a huge amount of public money being spent here, which has generated lots of work," he said.
"It's a very significant project - $640 million all up."
However, Mr Page said the new bypass also raised some "challenges" for Ballina.
"I think Ballina needs to start thinking of selling itself as a destination in its own right. It's not going to be right on the highway anymore; you'll have to make a conscious decision to go into Ballina," he said.
Future infrastructure projects are already in motion.
"We've got another one coming - $780 million coming from Tintenbar through to Ewingsdale, which has already started, really, in terms of land acquisition and all the designer work. That's due to be completed by about the middle of 2014," Mr Page said.