Fourteen kilometres of new, divided highway is progressively opening to traffic between Kempsey to Kundabung on the Pacific Highway in New South Wales.
Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, said the Pacific Highway was a centrepiece of the Australian Government’s investment in regional road infrastructure.
“Upgrading the Pacific Highway is part of the Australian Government’s record $75 billion investment in infrastructure around the nation to support economic growth and reduce the number of serious crashes on Australian roads,” Mr Turnbull said.
“This is the first section of the Oxley Highway to Kempsey corridor to be opened.
“Today’s milestone means that 74 per cent of the Pacific Highway, between Hexham and the Queensland border, is now divided carriageway.
“Over the next six months, an additional 57km of new four-lane divided road is expected to open to traffic. We are building better roads, creating more jobs and improving the lifestyle of New South Wales residents.”
New South Wales Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight, Melinda Pavey, said northbound motorists would now be diverted onto new northbound lanes, providing improved and safer travelling conditions for all motorists.
“The first stage of the opening of the Kundabung to Kempsey upgrade involves opening one northbound and one southbound lane with an 80km/h speed limit,” Mrs Pavey said.
“We are delivering for New South Wales. These upgrades will improve safety and ensure motorists spend more time with their families and less time travelling.”
Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Darren Chester, said the Pacific Highway upgrade is changing lives and saving lives.
“Since the works began on the Pacific Highway, the number of fatal crashes has halved, reducing to about 20 crashes annually in recent years,’’ Mr Chester said.
Federal Member for Cowper, Luke Hartsuyker, said this upgrade sees two new rest areas, a new heavy vehicle inspection facility, and a new interchange in the vicinity of Kundabung Road and Rodeo Drive.
“Compared to 1996, prior to work starting on the upgrade of the Pacific Highway, motorists driving the length of the highway are already saving about an hour and three quarters in travel time. When the upgrade is completed in 2020 this will increase to around two and a half hours,” Mr Hartsuyker said.
The Australian and New South Wales Governments each committed $115 million to the Kundabung to Kempsey section of the Pacific Highway upgrade.