The Pacific Highway’s Banora Point upgrade opened to traffic on Monday – but not before two ‘official’ openings.
The first one, on Friday, featured federal transport minister Anthony Albanese, Richmond MP Justine Elliot and Tweed mayor Barry Longland.
Then on Monday, a second opening starred state roads minister Duncan Gay and state Tweed MP Geoff Provest.
This absurdist pantomime was just the latest in the seemingly endless round of sniping between the two levels of government over just who should pay what for the completion of the highway.
Mr Gay says the federal government’s determination to insist on a 50/50 contribution for the remaining construction of the highway will mean full duplication will not be completed by 2016 as planned. He claims the state will be unable to match federal funding in its upcoming budget.
Mr Albanese says the last three years of 80/20 funding was part of the stimulus package, which is now completed, and 50/50 is simply returning to the situation that prevailed under the Howard government. He adds that federal spending on the highway under Labor has been more than $7.7 billion over nine years, compared to the Howard government’s record of $1.3 billion over 12 years.
Motorists travelling north on the Pacific Highway will now travel on the new road at the viaduct bridge between Barneys Point bridge and Laura Street. The new northbound road is lower than the existing highway at Sextons Hill and eliminates the last set of traffic lights on the highway between Brisbane’s CBD and Coffs Harbour.
The speed limit is 80km/h on the newly opened section as work is still under way and will increase to 100km/h when the highway is fully complete.
Electronic signs will be in place to warn motorists of the speed-limit change and will guide motorists through traffic changes and exit options along the new route.
The opening of the project in stages will mean detours will be in place. This includes changes to traffic conditions for motorists wanting to turn right at Terranora Road.
Landscaping and upgrades to local roads will continue in the coming months with full project completion expected mid to late 2012.