Tweed mayor Barry Longland is reiterating his call on the NSW government to intervene with the roads authority to delay handover of the bypassed section of the Pacific Highway at Sexton Hill.
The 1.6 kilometre stretch of arterial road – now known as Sexton Hill Drive – has been bypassed by the new section of Pacific Highway at Banora Point.
The Roads and Maritime Services Authority (RMS) intends to hand over responsibility for the bypassed section of the old Pacific Highway at Sexton Hill to Tweed Shire Council in September.
This is despite ongoing representations with the member for Tweed, Geoff Provest, who is currently arranging a meeting between the council and roads minister Duncan Gay in an effort to resolve the vexatious issue of state road classifications in Tweed Shire. The RMS were also made aware of a unanimous Tweed Shire Council resolution in May that council would not accept handover of the bypassed highway at Sexton Hill Drive as a local road.
‘Council will not receive one cent from the state for maintenance of this road in perpetuity,’ Councillor Longland said.
‘This means Tweed ratepayers will have to cough up an estimated $1 million in maintenance for this road over the next decade.
‘That’s not fair when you consider that similar urban arterial roads in Sydney, the central coast, Wollongong and Newcastle are managed and funded by the state government,’ he said.
At the heart of the issue is the RMS’s road classification system of urban arterial roads.
In NSW, the RMS classifies and funds urban arterial roads within major urban areas (urban areas with population in excess of 100,000) as state and regional roads.
Outside major urban areas, RMS only classifies significant connecting roads between centres as state or regional roads. The RMS classifies Sydney, Newcastle, Wollongong and the central coast (Gosford and Wyong LGAs) as the only major urban areas in NSW.
‘We want Sexton Hill Drive to be classified as a state road or regional road, so we can receive funding from the state, not as a local road, where we will receive nothing,’ Councillor Longland said. *
‘The Gold Coast/Tweed is a geographically continuous urban area with a population of 576,747 (2011 Census).
‘The Tweed is demonstrably part of a major urban centre much larger than Newcastle, Wollongong or the central coast, but is not recognised as such because there is a state border artificially dividing the geographically continuous Gold Coast/Tweed urban area,’ he said.
‘We urgently call on the minister for roads, Duncan Gay, to intervene to postpone this planned handover of Sexton Hill Drive so we can discuss this issue further with the RMS and they can conduct a review of the Tweed’s road classification.
‘The member for Tweed, Geoff Provest, supports council in calling for the handover to be postponed and is seeking an urgent meeting with the minister to discuss the issue,’ he said.