Ballina MP proposes inland route

BALLINA MP Don Page has come up with his own route for an upgraded Pacific Highway between Bangalow and Grafton.

The State's Shadow Minister for the North Coast said a dual carriageway route from Bangalow that travels roughly along the existing rail corridor, skirting Lismore, east of Casino, and down the Summerland Way to Grafton would produce a better long-term outcome than the existing upgrade proposals.

Mr Page said the inland option would not jeopardise future rail services.

"All current proposals between Tintenbar-Ewingsdale and Woodburn-Ballina have problems and the alternative inland option has major benefits," he said.

"The inland option would be much cheaper, easier and faster to build (the State Government owns most of the corridor) and it affects fewer people."

Mr Page said the proposal would not affect the urgent need for both the Ballina and Alstonville bypasses.

"These are needed for local safety reasons regardless of what happens in the longer term," he said.

Mr Page said the current policy of upgrading the Pacific Highway by 'just joining the dots' along the way was short-sighted.

"It takes little account of the fact that the Pacific Highway has now become the major road freight route for eastern Australia but it is set among a fast-growing local population," he said.

"We need a better vision which meets future transport needs, is safe and preserves the amenity for local residents.

"It's important to consider this option now before any funds are committed to construction."

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