Australia's longest bridge marks Pacific Highway progress

Source: New South Wales Government - 

17 February 2011

Roads Minister David Borger today announced a contract had been signed with Abigroup to design and build Australia’s longest bridge as part of the Pacific Highway upgrade.

"The 3.2 kilometre bridge will cross the Macleay River and floodplain and is an important part of the Kempsey bypass project, which will employ around 450 people and support more than 1400 jobs indirectly," Mr Borger said.

"The 14.5 kilometre Kempsey bypass project involves building a four-lane dual carriageway bypassing Kempsey and Frederickton.

"It is the first stage of the 40 kilometre Kempsey to Eungai upgrade.

"The total length of the bridge was originally planned to be 2.2 kilometres, however the bridge was extended by one kilometre after redesign, making it the longest bridge in the country.

"To say NSW will have Australia’s longest bridge is a great achievement, and testament to the hard work being done to upgrade the Pacific Highway.

"Not only will this be the longest bridge in Australia but the change to the design means the project will open to traffic one year earlier than expected, in 2013," Mr Borger said.

"The bridge is being built by the NSW Government within the project budget of $618 million provided by the Federal Government.

"The high standards of innovation in the planning and design of this bridge reflect the progress made along the 664 kilometre length of the Pacific Highway upgrade, one of the largest road infrastructure projects ever carried out in NSW."

"There are now 332 kilometres of four-lane dual carriageway along the Pacific Highway between Hexham and the Queensland border, with 70 kilometres now being upgraded."

"The final length of the highway will be 664 kilometres including a high standard connection to the F3 Freeway.

"The Pacific Highway upgrade brings significant benefits to the people of NSW, particularly to the communities along the Pacific Highway corridor," Mr Borger said.

Mr Borger added that there had been marked reductions in fatalities along the corridor.

"While there is further work to be done to reduce the number of crashes and fatalities, the reduction to date, from average annual fatalities in the low 50s and high 40s in 1996, to the mid 20s in 2010, reflects the results of the additional four-lane divided sections of road on the highway, as well as the further safety improvements on remaining sections of existing two-lane highway," Mr Borger said.

The RTA has been measuring the travel time of light and heavy vehicles to provide an indication of the overall time saving for road users.

"The measurements show travel time savings of about 70 minutes for light vehicles, from 8.5 hours to 7.5 hours, and 80 minutes for heavy vehicles, down from 9 hours, have already been achieved.

"In addition to the reduction in fatalities and travel times, the Pacific Highway upgrade continues to make a major contribution to regional development along the east coast of NSW and is improving the safety of locals through bypasses and the separation of through and local traffic," Mr Borger said.

Given the large amount of work now being carried out, a number of significant milestones for the Pacific Highway upgrade project are about to be achieved, including:

Banora Point

  • The $359 million Banora Point project will upgrade the Pacific Highway to a six-lane divided road from Barneys Point Bridge to the Tweed Heads bypass, bringing major benefits for travel time and road safety;

  • Demolition of existing twin bridges is complete and a number of traffic diversions are in place. To allow construction to proceed, the opening of southbound carriageway is due late 2011; and,

  • On-track for completion in late 2012.

  • Ballina Bypass

  • The $640 million Ballina bypass will provide 12 kilometres of four-lane divided highway between Emigrant Creek, south of Ballina and approximately 500m north of Ross Lane at Tintenbar; and,

  • Construction is well underway, with the northern section of the project due to be open to traffic on late February 2011. The full bypass is due for completion by mid 2012.

  • Bulahdelah upgrade

  • The 8.6 kilometre Bulahdelah upgrade includes a four-lane divided highway with an eastern bypass of the town;

    • Construction work is progressing well. The upgrade is expected to be opened to traffic in late 2012; and,

    • When complete, the Bulahdelah bypass will complete the 220 kilometres of four-lane divided road between Hexham and Port Macquarie.

    Sapphire to Woolgoolga

    • This 25 kilometre section of the Pacific Highway upgrade involves a four-lane divided highway with a service road from Sapphire to Woolgoolga and a new dual carriageway bypass to the rest of Woolgoolga; and,

    • The upgrade is scheduled to open to traffic by early 2014.

    Glenugie upgrade

  • Will result in 7 kilometres of four-lane divided highway from Franklins Road to Eight Mile Lane, south of Grafton; and,

  •  Work is being carried out and is due for completion in late 2011.

  • "In addition to the projects on which work is now being completed, a further 314 kilometres of highway are in various stages of development, with many projects, such Herons Creek to Stills Road and Tintenbar to Ewingsdale due to begin work this year," Mr Borger said.


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