Red tape holding up Pacific Highway Interchange upgrades

FEDERAL Member for Lyne Dr David Gillespie has called on the NSW Government to fast track the upgrades of key intersections along the Pacific Highway and has written to Federal Transport Minister Catherine King seeking an ongoing commitment of Australian Government support to provide Federal funding for the projects.

There are several key intersections still requiring the installation of grade-separated interchanges for both safety and efficiency on this important national transport route,” Dr Gillespie said.

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The intersections include Italia Road, The Bucketts Way, Medowie Road, Myall Way, Failford Road, Houston Mitchell Drive and improvements to the Oxley Highway interchange at Port Macquarie.

“The reality is there is far too much red tape at a State-level in delivering these critical infrastructure projects.

“Under the current situation, the planning and approvals process can take years.

“This is just unacceptable,” Dr Gillespie said.

“In government I raised this issue about the need to do these projects and got support for Federal funding, however, the only projects that we could deliver funding for are the Coopernook-Harrington Interchange, the upgrade of the Cundletown interchange and the Italia Road interchange.

“Two of these projects still have some way to go in the State planning and design process.”

Dr Gillespie also called on his state colleagues to lobby State Ministers to cut the red tape and improve timelines for delivery of important infrastructure projects.

“The recent improvements to the intersection of the Houston Mitchell Drive cost millions of dollars, and with work now complete, we still have an ever-increasing number of motorists including caravans crossing four lanes of the Pacific Highway, and the speed limit reduction remains.

“That funding should have gone towards a full grade-separated interchange.

“In the case of the Oxley Highway upgrade between Billabong Drive and Lake Road in Port Macquarie, which takes in the Pacific Highway interchange, that road is at maximum capacity during peak times.

“Again, Federal funding of $4 million has been provided for the State to undertake $5 million worth of more planning and preliminary designs when a report back in 2016 told them they needed to get on with upgrades then.”

Dr Gillespie said the Commonwealth had for some years put Federal funding on the table to build the M1 Motorway extension to Raymond Terrace and construction had still not begun.

“Over $1.7 billion is still sitting there waiting for the State to actually get the project started but their pre-construction activities appear to be taking far longer than the construction itself,” Dr Gillespie said.

“It’s completely unacceptable.

“The NSW Government has tied themselves up in too much red tape. State Ministers need to take immediate action to deliver these projects and stop leaving it to the bureaucrats to deliver more red tape,” he added.

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