Byron won?t join drive for highway
By SAMANTHA TURNBULL
THE Byron Shire Council will not join a campaign to have the Pacific Highway made entirely dual carriageway within 10 years.
The NRMA and Northern Rivers Regional Organisation of Councils (NOROC) announced this month they had formed a task force to lobby for the upgrade of the highway by 2016.
NOROC president Ernie Bennett hoped to recruit all councils along the highway to join the task force.
However, Byron Shire councillors voted this week in favour of an urgent motion by Cr Jan Mangleson not to support the fast-tracking of the Pacific Highway upgrade.
Cr Mangleson said yesterday she did think the highway needed to be made dual carriageway eventually, but Bdoubles should first be moved inland.
"The safety of the Pacific Highway would improve immediately if B-doubles were put back on the New England Highway," she said.
"We're not saying 'leave the Pacific Highway as it is', but at this point there has been no proper planning about what's going to happen with freight."
Cr Bennett said B-doubles were not the primary issue Byron Shire councillors should be thinking about.
"Our biggest concern is the amount of people dying on the Pacific Highway," he said.
"It's for that reason we want this done quickly."
He said he was disappointed, but not surprised by the Byron Shire Council's stance.
"Byron are pretty well-known for being different," he said.
"I respect that, but I disagree with their view."
The Northern Star and its sister papers in Grafton, Tweed Heads and Coffs Harbour are spearheading a media campaign to have the highway upgrade fast-tracked.
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