The Pacific Highway is one of the busiest roads in Australia, with tens of thousands of private vehicles and trucks passing along the 960km route each day. As such, both federal and state authorities continue to develop plans to upgrade the roading infrastructure.
Part of the latest project includes the design and construction of a new bridge and associated infrastructure over the Clarence River. This river is located between the NSW towns of Woolgoolga and Ballina, and the location of the upgrade represents one of the last major crossings before the Queensland border along the highway.
With construction on the new bridge expected to begin next year, NSW authorities are working quickly to name a business to take charge of the project. Recently, the number of tenderers was cut to three with the winner set to be named in the coming months.
Federal Member for Cowper Luke Hartsuyker said the four-lane bridge, to be built at Harwood, will span around 1.3km.
"The new bridge will be the longest of 40 bridges to be built as part of the Woolgoolga to Ballina upgrade. It must be aesthetically pleasing, meet all safety requirements, include flood mitigation measures and provide a 30-metre navigational clearance for marine traffic," he said in an August 17 media statement.
With the Pacific Highway only getting busier, easing traffic concerns is one of the main aims of the new structure. Federal Member for Page Kevin Hogan remembers the original bridge, constructed in 1966, and its effect on the local economy.
"Likewise, this new bridge is a modern-day solution to improving the highway's efficiency and productivity," he stated.
Pacific Highway promise
With three-quarters of all fright movements between Sydney and Brisbane passing through this section of road, upgrades are always welcomed. As an added incentive, the federal government has also committed to finishing all improvements by the end of the decade, something that is on track at present.
Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis supported this promise and cited the overwhelming economic benefits to civil engineering business up and down the coast.
"At the peak of construction, 4,000 people will work directly on upgrades, with a further 12,000 working indirectly. Everyone from major construction material suppliers to local businesses and north-coast residents are set to benefit from the highway upgrade," he said.
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