Opinion: Upgrade opening means driving just got a lot better

BY the time you read this column some of you may have already travelled on the new section of the Pacific Highway from Tintenbar to Ewingsdale.

I'm sure I am like many residents of the Northern Rivers when I expresss my gratitude that we don't have to endure another Christmas of traffic snarls and long delays on this section of the highway.

And those travellers about to get on the roads for the festive season will also thanks the hundreds of workers who've toiled on this project in order to get it ready.

I'm sure it can't have been an easy build tunnelling through St Helena and putting up the many fly-over bridges necessary to get this road above flood level.

Smoothing out those many curves and making the road take a straighter route is also going to cut down travelling time for residents who, like me, do a lot of travelling between major centres such as Lismore, Ballina and Byron.

It's also an expensive bit of road. I'm no good at maths, but the 17km stretch cost $862 million which equates to something in the order of $50.7 million per kilometre.

I don't mean to bitch-umen about anything, but that is a load of dough to blow on such a short bit of road.

It's also been a political hot potato with politicians of all persuasions and parties willing to line up and take credit or lay the finger of blame somewhere else for delays.

Let's also not forget that four young people died in September last year on the old highway route this upgrade will now replace.



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