The Pacific Highway Upgrade Program is one of the largest infrastructure projects in NSW history. From Hexham to the Queensland border, the program has brought major improvements to road conditions and travel times.
The upgrade of the Pacific Highway has been ongoing for almost 20 years and it is scheduled for completion in five years. The Australian and NSW governments have been jointly upgrading the Pacific Highway to provide a four lane divided road from Hexham in NSW to Queensland. Currently 397 kilometres of the Pacific Highway between Hexham and the Queensland border are now a four lane divided road, equalling 60% of the work done.
About 123 kilometres is currently under construction, constituting 20% of the total work. The remaining sections are all being prepared for major work. The upgrade of the Pacific Highway until mid-2020 will create on average up to 4,500 direct and 13,500 indirect jobs during peak construction, which is expected in 2017. Roads and Maritime Services and its contractors, wherever possible, use local products and services for infrastructure construction projects.
Safety the leading factor
$1.1 million has been provided under the NSW black Spot Program to improve safety and reduce the risk and severity of crashes in the area.
“In the five years to June 2012, 20 crashes occurred on this section of the Pacific Highway including three injury crashes, several of which occurred in wet conditions and involved motorists losing control on the curve and veering off the road,” Member for Myall Lakes Stephen Bromhead said. “Road safety improvements will be carried out to improve the road surface and drainage on a 500 metre curved section of the southbound lane.”
The upgrade of the new sections and carrying out safety improvements to the existing highway have brought major improvements to road conditions. These improvements support regional development and provide:
- Safer travel
- Reduced travel times with improved transport efficiency
- More consistent and reliable travel
- Improved amenity for local communities.
Roads and Maritime Services aims to minimise any potential effects work on the Pacific Highway has on the natural environment. Any identified impacts are managed in line with current NSW State and Federal environmental laws. Environmental management starts before the project is approved and continues through all stages of the project. Approved projects have a number of conditions that have to be met before, during and after construction. Approval has been given with 26 strict conditions to minimise environmental impacts, including a range of mitigation measures on the proposed route which are critical to avoid impacts to koalas and other threatened species.
Commencements this year
In February this year one of the latest commencements on the Pacific Highway upgrade started. In February the NSW Government committed $100 million to an upgrade of the Pacific Highway.
“I am delighted to announce we will reserve $100 million to duplicate the Pacific Highway to two lanes in each direction from Ourimbah Street, Lisarow to Glen Road, Ourimbah,” NSW Premier Mike Baird said.
“The upgrade will include intersection upgrades with pedestrian crossings at Ourimbah Street, Teralba Street and Walmsley Road and new bridge structures over cut rock creek to accommodate two lanes in each direction, with construction to start in the next financial year.”
Roads Minister Duncan Gay said the travel time savings for motorists will also see improved connections between West Gosford and Lisarow train station, as well as the Lisarow and West Gosford employment areas.
“This project is essentially shovel ready which means that as soon as Rebuilding NSW is in place, we can get the diggers and grinders to work,” Mr Gay said.
Minister for the central coast Rob Stokes said the NSW Government was working to ensure the central coast receives the necessary infrastructure investment to support the region’s growth.
“By 2031 we expect an extra 60,000 people to be living on the central coast and we want to ensure the infrastructure is in place to meet that growth,” Mr Stokes said.
“I look forward to returning with the local MPs to mark the start of construction on this essential upgrade.”