Bypass gets green light
By MARY MANN firstname.lastname@example.org
A COMPLETION date finally has been set for the much-anticipated Ballina bypass project.
For people like Alan Brown, chairman of the Ballina Bypass Action Group, it means that by mid-2012 the sound of trucks roaring through Ballina should be no more than a noisy memory.
The State and Federal governments yesterday announced the $331m project should be completed in four-and-a-half years, however, a start date has not been announced.
“I’m absolutely delighted with the news,” Mr Brown said. “It’s been a long wait but I know what the RTA had to go through to get to this stage.
“It having been a long wait makes this news all the more exciting.”
The Ballina bypass will deliver about 12.4 kilometres of safer dual carriageway on the Pacific Highway.
Also announced yesterday were the preferred contractors for the project.
Leightons Contractors Pty Limited, Maunsell AECOM, SMEC and Coffey Geotechnics have been short-listed from expressions of interest to form an alliance to work on the project.
The alliance will finalise the scope and price of design and construction. It will be presented to the RTA before the alliance is formally approved and construction begins.
Yesterday, an RTA spokesperson said timing for the construction of the upgrade was subject to ongoing discussions between the NSW State and Federal governments on future funding arrangements for the upgrading of the highway beyond 2009.
Ballina MP Don Page said the release of the completion date was good news.
“This will be a huge benefit to the community, especially once the dangerous Tintenbar hill is gone,” he said.
Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Anthony Albanese, said the work was being accelerated ‘because the government understands how important it is for the local community’.
“It is full steam ahead on the Ballina bypass section of the Pacific Highway to make it safer for the thousands of motorists who use it every day,” Mr Albanese said.