Statement by Andrew Woodward – Labor Candidate for Cowper
Monday, 7 May 2018
Pacific Highway upgrade now a full-on bungle
The late finish of the Pacific Highway upgrade between Coffs Harbour and Port Macquarie has now blown out into a full-scale bungle with the last remaining unfinished section now expected to open late 2018 – a full year behind schedule.
Luke Hartsuyker and The Nationals have serious questions to answer over the late completion of the Pacific Highway – why has this occurred, who is responsible, what are the repercussions for those at fault and when will it be open?
Thankfully, the majority of the work has been opened between Port Macquarie and Coffs Harbour. But the dangerous, narrow and winding section just south of Macksville from Warrell Creek to Upper Warrell Creek Road remains a full-blown construction site.
The $830 million project between Nambucca Heads and Warrell Creek work was due for full completion by the end of last year and it is already four months late.
The then Minister for Transport, Darren Chester, on 1 November 2017, said the unfinished section was “expected to be open in the coming months”, implying earlier this year.
Six months on it is not open and it is far from finished. Have a look for yourself. Sure, the ground is broken but there is no road surface in parts; no barriers; no landscaping; no signage and no line marking. The bridge and surrounds at Warrell Creek appear about half finished.
I wouldn’t expect traffic will be flowing on all four lanes until the end of the year. That’s a full-on bungle and we need to know what’s gone wrong and when we will have the four lanes opened to traffic as promised.
This critical piece of infrastructure will reduce accidents and human trauma, increase amenity and improve travel times. The merits of the project are not in question. The issue is that this ‘missing link’ is running late with no explanation for the bungle from either Canberra or Sydney.
Late last year Luke Hartsuyker was caught out making up excuses as to why this project was running late – there was a paperwork issue between the Federal and NSW Government; then it was the availability of contractors and then, wait for it, the weather.
Luke Hartsuyker has no idea about what’s happening locally and just makes things up. He needs to answer serious questions about this bungle by his government.
- Fact checking conducted in November 2017: LINK
- Luke Hartsuyker’s excuses to the media from November 2017: LINK
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Updated: 7 May 2018