Federal Member for Cowper Luke Hartsuyker has turned the first sod on the Warrell Creek to Nambucca Heads section of the Pacific Highway duplication - one of the last pieces in the jigsaw that will see a dual lane divided throughfare from Sydney to Brisbane.
The Australian Government is contributing $415 million to the Warrell Creek to Nambucca Heads project - half of the total $830 million cost of the design and construction, with the State picking up the remainder.
The new stretch of road will considerably ease the current level of traffic congestion, especially around Macksville township.
The 19.5km section of the Pacific Highway will include a high level twin bridge crossing of the Nambucca River, as well as new twin bridges east of the existing crossing at Warrell Creek.
“The (current) Macksville Bridge is decades past its use-by date and the deviation from the existing highway will provide a more direct, faster route compared with the current road,” Mr Hartsuyker said.
“The Pacific Highway is a major priority of the Australian Government and this significant investment in infrastructure creates a wealth of job opportunities in and around the region.
“The benefit to the local area extends far beyond better traffic flow on the Pacific Highway. The local economies also enjoy increased levels of employment and the flow-on effect of greater financial input to local businesses and communities, which benefits everyone.
“The project will create 600 direct jobs and 1900 indirect jobs which will provide a significant economic boost to the region.”
The Australian Government has committed $5.64 billion towards the duplication of the Pacific Highway, with more than 397 kilometres of the final highway length now complete.
The Warrell Creek to Nambucca Heads section is the last part of the project to commence construction between Port Macquarie and Coffs Harbour.
NSW Minister for Roads and Freight, Duncan Gay, said he is looking forward to the completion of the Warrell Creek to Nambucca Heads project in late 2017, and full duplication of the Pacific Highway by the end of the decade.