Pacific Highway upgrade six month report card July to December 2011. Dual carriageway status: The graph above shows the status of highway upgrades since the start of the upgrade program. Roads and Maritime Services of NSW
Pacific Highway upgrade six month report card July to December 2011. Dual carriageway status: The graph above shows the status of highway upgrades since the start of the upgrade program. Roads and Maritime Services of NSW

Woodburn black spot not funded

THE deadly stretch of highway south of Woodburn will be one of the last stages of the Pacific Hwy upgrade to be completed as it has yet to get a commitment from the Federal and State Governments.

And as State and Federal Governments continue to play political hot-potato with the long-running road upgrade, the highway duplication 2016 completion date has been thrown into some doubt.

Federal Minister for Infrastructure Anthony Albanese yesterday released a schedule of works for remaining stages of the contentious upgrade.

The graph showed the construction of the Woodburn to Devil's Pulpit stage, which includes the notorious Tabbimoble stretch, would begin in 2015, making the 15km project the last of three stages to be completed.

However, funding is "yet to be committed" to this stage's construction.

The Ballina to Woodburn bypass, which also has no funding, will remain flawed until 2014, when construction is scheduled to take place.

The Tintenbar to Ewingsdale stretch is funded and scheduled for a mid-2014 finish date.

A six-month report card on the Pacific Hwy project released last week showed the upgrade needed a further $7.4 billion to finish it completely. Minister for North Coast and Ballina MP Don Page said the 2016 targeted finish date was a Federal Government date that he thought was "ambitious."

"The biggest worry is the Federal Government changed the funding arrangement from 80:20 to 50:50 and that represents a relative reduction in funding, $2.3 billion, which throws into doubt the 2016 date."

But Page Federal MP Janelle Saffin called on her State colleagues - Don Page, Thomas George and Chris Gulaptis - yesterday to help their Government stick to its pre-election commitment of continuing the Pacific Hwy upgrade with the 50:50 funding split.



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