Access to Eight Mile Lane from the Pacific Highway.
Access to Eight Mile Lane from the Pacific Highway. Roads and Maritime

8 Mile Lane upgrade need 'a fallacy': Gulaptis

THE recently announced Regional Roads package promises $500 million to assist councils in repairing, maintaining and sealing important local roads, but an upgrade of Eight Mile Lane to cater for B-doubles from the highway will not fall under the scope of the project.

It also pledges to begin a process of a transfer of up to 15,000km of council-owned roads back to the state, but the Member for Clarence, Chris Gulaptis, said the Eight Mile Lane upgrade was unnecessary.

"Regional roads will go back to the state government so the councils can fix local roads, fixing potholes, and we'll be responsible for looking after those regional ones," he said.

Roads classified as regional roads include Clarence Way, Yamba Rd and Iluka Rd.

Part of the $500 million will also be allocated for regional and rural communities' worst timber bridges. Clarence Valley Council has more than 100 within its boundaries.

However, Mr Gulaptis hosed down hopes the announcement might be a path to the upgrade of Eight Mile Lane to handle B-doubles entering and exiting the newly upgraded Pacific Motorway.

"The argument about Eight Mile Lane taking traffic out of Ulmarra is a bit of a fallacy because it's too far out of their way," Mr Gulaptis.

"I've talked with a local company and it would cost them an extra $5000 a year in fuel, and that doesn't include the extra time for drivers.

"They're just not going to use it."

Mr Gulaptis said he had seen correspondence from a trucking company that said any upgrade should accommodate B-triples and A-double trucks, but he said they were not on the highway at the moment.

"If that does happen and they're coming into Grafton, then of course we'll upgrade it," Mr Gulaptis said.

"But I don't think it's necessary now because no one is going to use it - that's the feedback I'm getting from the industry."