Trevor Veale

Pacific Highway upgrade will meet deadline: mayors

A GROUP of North Coast mayors who have fought for the upgrade of the Pacific Highway between Woolgoolga and Ballina since 2006 say the highway completion date of 2020 is now confirmed.

Work on the first part of the 155km road works, the 26km stretch between Woolgoolga and Glenugie, began at Corindi Beach on Saturday, with the ceremonial turning of the first sod.

The Pacific Highway Task Force said the commitment of $5.64 billion to the project, including $596 million NSW Government money in 2015-16 budget, showed the government was committed to fully funding the work.

The taskforce chairman, Clarence Valley Mayor Richie Williamson said it was the decision the taskforce had been lobbying for intensively since 2006.

"Congratulations need to be extended to the council members of the taskforce, the NRMA, Doctors for a Safer Pacific Highway and the affected residents and travellers impacted by the poor condition of the highway," he said.

"The taskforce will now keep a watching brief on progress to ensure the unfinished sections of the highway are constructed within the specified time frames."

The Coffs Harbour Bypass and the F3 to Raymond Terrace Bypass have been excluded from the Highway duplication program as there is already a four-lane highway in those areas.

Cr Williamson said that to relieve the traffic congestion in Coffs Harbour and Heatherbrae the proposed bypasses needed to proceed.

"The taskforce is available to lend its support to Coffs Harbour City Council and Port Stephens Council to achieve funding allocations for these projects," he said.

The NSW Roads Minister, Duncan Gay, said the 2015-16 commitment is part of a $1.4 billion package from the State Government for the work, fulfilling a commitment of contributing 20% of the money to the project.