(back l-r) David Abrahams, Frank heppell, Warren Moss, Kevin Wtkins and (front) Darcy Knight with some of the possum boxes the Grafton Men's Shed are making for the new highway construction.
(back l-r) David Abrahams, Frank heppell, Warren Moss, Kevin Wtkins and (front) Darcy Knight with some of the possum boxes the Grafton Men's Shed are making for the new highway construction. Adam Hourigan

Animals given places to nest along Pacific Hwy upgrade

ANIMALS along the Pacific Hwy upgrade will soon have new places to roost and nest with the installation of the final stage of next boxes between Richmond River and Pimlico to begin.

Around 700 nest boxes are being installed between Glenugie and Ballina, and Page MP Kevin Hogan said the nest boxes were part of the commitment to carefully manage ecologically sensitive natural environments during work to upgrade the highway.

"Almost 250 nest boxes have already been installed along the Halfway Creek to Glenugie section, and are now home to a range of wildlife including possums, gliders and birds," Mr Hogan said.

"We have developed management plans for a number of threatened, endangered and regionally significant species along the length of the 155 kilometre Woolgoolga to Ballina section."

Sixty new nest boxes will be installed prior to vegetation clearing, to help mitigate the loss of tree habitats.

"We have also started to install approximately 16 kilometres of koala exclusion fencing on local roads and the existing Pacific Highway to help prevent koalas being killed by vehicles," Mr Hogan said.

"Whether it is installing nest boxes, fencing, crossing structures, or carefully timing work, the Woolgoolga to Ballina project team is learning from the extensive experience and successes on other parts of the Pacific Highway upgrade.

"Suitably qualified ecologists will monitor and maintain the nest boxes twice a year during the upgrade and for several years after the highway opens to traffic."

The Australian and New South Wales governments are funding the Woolgoolga to Ballina upgrade on an 80:20 basis. For more information on the project visit: www.rms.nsw.gov.au/W2B.

The Pacific Highway upgrade remains on track to open to traffic by 2020.