New $862m Pacific Highway section opens

Construction completed on NSW highway, including a two-way tunnel and four-lane connector

New $862m Pacific Highway section opens
The Pacific Highway has received an update.


Federal infrastructure minister Warren Truss and NSW minister for roads Duncan Gay have opened a new $862 million section of the Pacific Highway near Ballina.

Located between Tintenbar and Ewingsdale, the new four-lane highway connects the Ewingsdale interchange to the Ballina Bypass and the St Helena twin tunnels.

Truss says the upgrade project, which received $566 million in federal funding, "is one of the largest infrastructure projects in regional Australia and aims to reduce travel times for motorists and road freight, improve safety and cater for future demand."

Work has been underway since mid-2012 on the 17 kilometre stretch, Gay says, and will continue on other sections of the Pacific Highway into 2016 and 2017.

"About 60 per cent of the Pacific Highway is now complete, and next year more than 48 kilometres of the Pacific Highway upgrade is expected to open to traffic followed by a further 83 kilometres in 2017."

Legislative Council member Ben Franklin says the road provides users with a continuous alternative between Tintenbar and Ewingsdale, separating local and highway traffic.

"The upgrade includes interchanges to enable motorists to safely enter and exit the highway as well as seven new bridges to improve road freight efficiency," Franklin says.

"Additional safety measures have also been installed for emergency vehicles including U-turn facilities along the length of the project enabling them to attend to accidents sooner."

Speaking on the new 434-metre long St Helena twin tunnels, local federal member Kevin Hogan says at "their deepest point, [they] are about 46 metres below St Helena Road and were excavated through high strength basalt rock."

"The tunnel is supported with state of the art emergency warning and monitoring systems.

"A traffic control centre has also been installed on top of the St Helena twin tunnels which will ensure immediate response to on-road incidents."

The NSW government provided $295 million to the project.


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