CHRISTMAS might be coming a week early for highway motorists with Roads Minister Melinda Pavey confirming that the Warrell Creek to Nambucca Pacific Highway upgrade will be open from Monday, December 18 – weather permitting.
The Oxley Highway to Kundabung upgrade opened last month. Three years on and the opening of the Port Macquarie to Kempsey section brings the duplication of 657km of Pacific Highway to 78 per cent complete, saving motorists 15 minutes between Port Macquarie and Kempsey and more than two hours between Hexham and the Queensland border.
“There’s nobody who doesn’t want that, especially with the traffic,” Mrs Pavey said.
“But it’s been a bit hairy because we lost a third of our working days at the beginning of the year due to the weather and flooding we had.”
And even now the skies are threatening to rain on RMS’s parade, with severe thunderstorms and rain expected to build through the weekend.
Everyone knows how important it is for Macksville to get its bypass before the Christmas holidays.Roads Minister Melinda Pavey
“My latest info from [Pacific Highway general manager] Bob Higgins is that we’ll have dual lanes in both directions from December 18,” Mrs Pavey said.
There is a planned community walkover on Saturday, December 16, from 10am, with locals getting their only chance to cross the new Macksville bridge on foot before it opens to traffic two days later.
Macksville Rotary Club president Garry McKay has confirmed that the club will be hosting a community barbecue at one end of the bridge on the day of the walkover.
“We had a similar walkover for the Berry bypass which opened just recently and everyone loved it,” Mrs Pavey said.
Currently, construction works are happening at breakneck speed in order to finish the project by deadline.
Work is being carried out six days a week, with some crews even working on Sundays.
Asphalting operations have been going on for the past couple of weeks and there is a flurry of activity on both ends of the new bridge.
“Workers have been going great guns,” Mrs Pavey said.
“They really should get a pat on the back for the effort they’re putting in.
“Everyone is working extended hours and we’ve been having some of the latest times we’ve ever laid asphalt—they’ve been working well into the night.”
RMS and Pacifico are working together to complete as much finishing work as possible before the bypass opens to traffic including completing landscaping, line marking, kerbing and concreting as well as laying the final asphalt surface on the new bridge across the Nambucca River.