Billion-dollar boost for highway upgrade
A BILLION-dollars' worth of tenders are now open for the Woolgoolga to Ballina Pacific Highway Upgrade which should see the project open to traffic in four years.
Page MP Kevin Hogan said tenders were now being invited for the $1 billion civil works on the final 65km stretch of the upgrade.
Works are currently underway on 90km of the total 155km road upgrade.
Now, construction will begin on the entire project thanks to the new Federal Government funding.
Mr Hogan said the remaining 65km of works would be divided into five sections worked on simultaneously by five contractors to meet the 2020 deadline.
Motivating the need to meet the 2020 target has been the number of fatal vehicle crashes on the highway over the years, according to Mr Hogan.
He said the need for the highway upgrade went back at least 27 years, when 20 people were killed after a bus and a semi-trailer collided head-on near Cowper, north of Grafton.
"We will get these dual carriageways as quickly as we can so we don't have any more fatalities," Mr Hogan said.
"The exciting thing about this is as we finish each section, fatalities will continue to fall enormously."
Mr Hogan said the project would provide an economic boost for surrounding communities with an estimated 8000 direct and indirect jobs to be created from highway works over the next three years.
"This is a multi-billion-dollar injection into our community," he said.