Multi-billion highway upgrade is go

The duplication of the 40km section of the Pacific Highway is set to be the most complex ? and expensive ? in the nation?s history. The road was the site of the country?s worst ever road accident, where 35 people died in a bus crash near Clybucca 20 years ago. 

The project will see the road bypass Kempsey and Frederickton, the construction of major bridges and a flood levee. 

Major construction is due to begin by mid-2013, with local quarries certain to benefit from the project.

Funded jointly between the Commonwealth and the States, the Federal Government has committed $4.1 billion to the project, while New South Wales has promised another $1 billion.

The newly announced section represents the second stage of the upgrade project, with the Kempsey Bypass being the first.

Federal Infrastructure and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese claimed the Pacific Highway upgrade is a victory for the local community, and for road safety.

?Given the many years of inaction and buck passing, I am proud to be the Federal Transport Minister who?s been able to secure the funding and achieved the co-operation necessary to getting this job done,? said Albanese.

NSW Deputy Premier Andrew Stoner said that the announcement offers proof that both levels of government were committed to finishing the job as soon as possible.

?The horrific events at Clybucca over 20 years ago left an indelible mark on our community and it is a relief to know that work will soon begin on this deadly stretch of road,? Mr Stoner said.

Sources: AAP, Department of Regional Infrastructure and Services, Road Traffic Authority (NSW)

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