A view of works underway on the Banora Point Highway Upgrade.
A view of works underway on the Banora Point Highway Upgrade. John Gass /TWE140212road

Road works behind, but on budget

MOTORISTS travelling on the M1 Freeway between Chinderah and Tweed Heads have noticed a big difference to the look of the Banora Point upgrade in the last few weeks.

A general look of chaos has given way to some semblance of structure as the bypass takes form.

Drivers held up in the mornings on the approach to the Sexton Hill traffic lights have time to observe progress as they sit "bumper to bumper" on the freeway.

But there is method in the madness.

Key planned construction activities for this month include the complete construction of the permanent southern interchange with a permanent U-turn bay and landscaping and the finalisation of new bus stops on the highway.

Richmond MP Justine Elliot said she was excited about the progress being made on the upgrade.

"I'm proud as the local MP to have delivered $347 million in federal funding to construct this project," she said.

"It's another example of how much our community can achieve when we work together.

"This upgrade was part of the federal Labor government's Economic Stimulus Program, to provide jobs and invest in infrastructure.

"The completed project will greatly improve safety and decrease travel times."

The Banora Point upgrade includes 2.5 km of the Pacific Hwy near the NSW/Queensland border from the northern end of the Barneys Point Bridge to the southern end of the completed Tweed Heads bypass.

Roads and Maritime Services (formerly Roads and Traffic Authority) has formed an alliance with Abigroup Contractors, Seymour Whyte Constructions and SMEC.

The alliance project team has designed and will complete construction of the Banora Point upgrade.

The upgrade is jointly funded by the Australian and NSW governments with the view to improve safety on the road and create uninterrupted highway traffic flow.

Easy access on and off the highway for local traffic is also part of the plan

The project's key features include a six-lane divided carriageway, with an improved alignment and a posted speed limit of 100kmh.

In December 2011 Banora Point upgrade alliance general superintendent Nick Williams said it has been one of the most enjoyable and challenging projects he'd worked on.

He predicted that the project would be "close to completion" by June of this year.

At that stage, Roads and Maritime Services spokesman said work on the project was going to plan and was well within budget.

However, the project is now expected to be completed by late 2012 (weather permitting) according to the RMS.

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