Hwy plain pain could delay work

BRIAN Finlayson is concerned that extra time required for planning and the difficulties of building more of the highway over a floodplain may delay reconstruction of some of the most dangerous sections of the Pacific Highway.

The Nambucca Shire Councillor said the RTA (now called Roads and Maritime Services) was investigating an alternative route for the new highway north of Macksville and another river crossing to avoid populated areas, but this involved "going through a fair bit of flood plain".

Cr Finlayson said this was expected to increase the cost considerably as well as extending the time for completion by six months, although he said this was not much different, considering that the highway between Kempsey and Coffs Harbour was due to be completed by 2016.

The proposed highway reconstruction route goes up Old Coast Rd on the northern side of the Nambucca River and makes use of a hard ridge off the floodplain. The new proposal would move the highway several hundred metres eastwards.

Cr Finlayson said he was particularly concerned that there should be no delays caused to work on the section between Nambucca and Urunga because this stretch of road had a really bad accident record.

"We want it cleaned up as soon as possible," the councillor said.

He said following a recent meeting with the RTA, a report was on its way to Nambucca Shire Council on the matter

Asked his thoughts on the Urunga speed camera, which Bellingen Shire Council and Urunga residents want to retain and reactivate, Cr Finlayson said he thought it should be retained.

"I thought it was a useful tool in controlling the speed of traffic in that area," Cr Finlayson said.

"Most locals knew it was there and if they were caught they deserved everything that happened." He said in spite of 90kmh signs on the sections from the Valla turnoff northwards, traffic was not travelling at 90kmh, although he said most was travelling some 10-15kmh slower than before.

"I've travelled through there at 90 and I'm in everyone's way,' he said.

"It's not a bad section of road if you know it, but everyone tries to travel at 120kmh when the road can only cope with 90-100kmh.

In other Nambucca Valley road news, Cr Finlayson said so far the State Government had been silent on funding for the southern section of Bowraville Rd, part of which collapsed in floods in 2009, although the council had sought a meeting with the minister.

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