NEWS THAT MATTERS

Community claims big win to fix road

The announcement yesterday by the Federal Government to provide $336 million as part of a partnership with the NSW State Government, to upgrade the Pacific Highway through Wyong has been welcomed by the community and local MPs.

Pacific Highway through Wyong Township

25 March 2022

 

THE $420 million upgrade will deliver two lanes in each direction between Johnson Road at Tuggerah and Cutler Drive at Wyong, and replace the Wyong River road bridge with two new road bridges.

 

It will also integrate the rail interchange with bus services, taxi services and disabled and short-term parking, provide new signalised intersections at Rose Street, Anzac Avenue, North Road and Cutler Drive, upgrade the existing intersection at Church Street, and replace the Rose Street rail bridge.

 

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Barnaby Joyce said the upgrade will be included the 2022–23 Federal Budget to upgrade the Pacific Highway in Wyong, improving traffic flow, travel times and safety through the town.

 

Federal Member for Dobell, Emma McBride and State Member for Wyong, David Harris have been campaigning for years for the Pacific Highway through Wyong to be upgraded and have been the driving force behind it.

 

Member for Dobell, Emma Mc Bride said “After years of campaigning to fix the road through Wyong, Coasties finally have the news they’ve been waiting to hear.

 
“The Federal Government has now caved to pressure and agreed to upgrade the Pacific Highway at Wyong, after almost a decade in power and on the eve of a federal election.

 

“While this news is welcome, it is long overdue.

 

“Our community has been crying out for an upgrade to this road for years.

 

“It’s a major bottleneck that can take over half an hour to clear on a busy day, and even longer when there’s an incident on the M1.”

 

Emma McBride launched a petition in June 2021 to have the road fixed and so far 1238 signatures. She has written directly to the affected communities over the past year - Wyong / Watanobbi / Wadalba / Hamlyn Terrace, etc. - and run radio advertising in the lead up to last year’s budget and delivered four speeches in parliament about the need for the road upgrade.

 

“Locals and business owners on the Central Coast have been calling on this government to fix the road through Wyong for years,” said Ms. McBride.

 

“After years of delays, I launched a petition last year calling on the government to act, I have spoken up in Parliament, and I’ve been working tirelessly to secure funding for this road.

 

“Labor has been ready and willing to act on this project, but the Morrison Government has completely overlooked the Central Coast when it comes to local roads and infrastructure.

 

“Their announcement is nothing but a desperate attempt to grab votes on the eve of an election.”

David Harris and Emma McBride express their concerns in 2019

Member for Wyong David Harris MP yesterday also welcomed the announcement that the Pacific Highway through Wyong upgrade will be fully funded after a joint announcement by the NSW and Federal Governments.

 

The $420 million project has been a contentious issue for over a decade with the community campaigning to fix this bottleneck.

 

“Both Emma McBride and myself have fought to have this funding delivered for a very long time,” said David Harris.

 

“This section of road is one of the most planned roads in NSW with almost  $40 million being spent since planning began way back in 2009 under the former NSW Labor Government,” he said.

 

Because the Pacific Highway road upgrade through Wyong has been delayed for so long, the road cannot take any extra traffic but “this will be a game changer for Wyong and Northern Central Coast and to have funding confirmed is a victory for the community, the Wyong Regional Chamber of Commerce and many people thought they would never see it happen.”

 

There are accidents on the freeway on a regular basis, and every time there is it locks up Wyong. There is no capacity for traffic through the detours.

 

The tender documents for the project were completed in 2016 – so, why has it taken the federal government so long to dig into their pockets? Up until now the Morrison Government has left the heavy lifting to NSW but “we now look forward to the release of the detailed plans because this will be a project that will take several years to complete,” David Harris said.

 

“As the local Member for Wyong, I feel vindicated that our long campaign has been finally successful.”

 

Council Administrator, Rik Hart said Council has been a champion for the upgrade of this State road as a catalyst to easing congestion in a key bottleneck area on the Coast.

 

“Our community can feel more confident now that this upgrade will happen,” Mr. Hart said.

 

Despite the upgrade announcement, local MPs have been receiving numerous telephone calls about the final plan and will it include the preservation of heritage buildings, or simply see them demolished - an ever familiar strategy of the NSW Liberal Government.

 

The project is expected to commence construction in mid-2024 and be completed by mid-2027.

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