The Pacific Highway is now fully upgraded between Ballina and Woolgoolga.
The Pacific Highway is now fully upgraded between Ballina and Woolgoolga.

Why some parts of brand new highway may get upgraded later

IT’S taken seven years, $5 billion and thousands of workers, but the Pacific Highway upgrade between Ballina and Woolgoolga is finally complete.

It opened to traffic over the weekend and means drivers are safer and trips are faster.

But not all sections of the new highway were made the same, and it could mean future roadworks will be needed.

In Transport for NSW’s December update on the project, they explain that the design for the 155km section of highway was a combination of an arterial standard, referred to as Class A, and a motorway standard, referred to as Class M.

The Pacific Highway is now fully upgraded between Ballina and Woolgoolga.
The Pacific Highway is now fully upgraded between Ballina and Woolgoolga.

“The design for Woolgoolga to Ballina allows Class A sections to be upgraded to Class M in the future,” the report states.

“Class A comprises of two lanes in each direction and retains some direct local access.

“Posted speed limits may vary depending on the road environment.

“Class M in comparison, has a posted speed of 110km/h and access to the motorway is only available from grade-separated interchanges.

“These interchanges involve one road passing over another, with ramps allowing for access between the roads.”

About 100km of the upgrade is Class M and the remaining 55km is Class A.

We’ve got the details broken down for you for the Northern Rivers sections.

A map showing the Class A (yellow) and the Class M sections (red) of the Pacific Highway.
A map showing the Class A (yellow) and the Class M sections (red) of the Pacific Highway.

Mororo to Devils Pulpit: 15km

This section of dual carriageway is a duplication of the former highway and is built to Class A standard with a number of local roads providing direct access to the upgraded highway. A number of property accesses also intersect the upgrade in this section via left in and left out only movements. U-turn facilities have been built to maintain functionality.

Devils Pulpit to Woodburn: 15km

This section of dual carriageway is a duplication of the former highway, with minor deviations at Cypress Road and Whites Lane built to Class A standard. Some local roads provide direct access to the upgraded highway. A number of property accesses also intersect the upgrade in this section via left in and left out only movements. U-turn facilities have been built to maintain functionality.

Woodburn to Broadwater: 12km

This section deviates from the former highway south of Woodburn and the majority of this section is built to Class M standard. The new route bypasses Woodburn and provides access to and from the upgraded highway via the Woodburn interchange.

Broadwater to Richmond River: 8km

This section deviates from the former highway to the east of Broadwater and is built to Class M standard. A service road between Woodburn and Broadwater was built in 2017 for motorists to travel on while the former highway was upgraded. This service road has remained as a local road connecting Woodburn and Broadwater. The new route bypasses Broadwater and features a northbound on ramp and southbound off ramp at the Broadwater half interchange.

Richmond River to Pimlico: 14km

This section deviates from the former highway and includes the new bridge over the Richmond River at Broadwater. The new route bypasses Wardell and is built to Class M standard. The Coolgardie interchange allows access to and across the upgraded highway. Overpasses or underpasses maintain access to local roads. The former highway bridge crossing at Wardell now forms part of the local road network, providing an alternative route for road users.

Pimlico to West Ballina: 6.5km

This section is a duplication of the former highway and is built to Class M standard to the south, with the remainder upgraded to Class A standard. It includes the bridge over Emigrant Creek – the only balanced cantilever bridge between Woolgoolga and Ballina. Direct access to the upgraded highway is available from some local roads with the Coolgardie interchange also available further south.



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