ANOTHER link in providing a four-lane divided road between Coffs Harbour and Port Macquarie has been opened.
The upgrade of the Pacific Hwy continued with Friday's official opening of 18 kilometres of the 23km upgrade between the Oxley Highway near Port Macquarie and Kundabung.
At a spot just north of Telegraph Point to help cut the ribbon on the new stretch of road, NSW Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight and Member for Oxley Melinda Pavey said the Oxley Hwy to Kundabung section involved building 23 bridges, including across the Hastings and Wilson rivers, and interchanges at Sancrox Rd, Blackmans Point Rd and Haydons Wharf Rd.
"In early 2018, the remaining five kilometres of southbound road will open to become a four-lane divided road with a permanent speed limit of 110kmh," Mrs Pavey said.
Mrs Pavey recalled a solemn tale during the official opening which highlighted the need for the upgrade that replaces a stretch of road that has claimed a dozen lives since work on the project started in 2014.
"When I was about 14 we had really beautiful family friends here at Port Macquarie and we used to come down and have like a Christmas Eve Christmas celebration with them," she began.
"We were heading back up north and we saw a crash here at Telegraph Point. I was 14 so that's like 35 or 36 years ago. I think two kiddies and a Mum and a dad were killed and I remember seeing the Christmas presents strewn all over the highway.
"And only the other day my daughter's basketball coach was involved in a heavy vehicle accident here at Telegraph Point.
"This has been a horrible, horrible place for too many residents of our community and to see this safety, to see this dual carriageway, to see the separation is profoundly important to us as a community."
Federal Member for Cowper Luke Harsuyker said the 23km project, which came at a cost of $820 million and was jointly funded by the Federal and State Governments, was progressively opening to traffic in two stages, with some traffic changes and speed restrictions remaining in place for a few months.
"This will support local farmers and freight operators, while also ensuring traffic moves smoothly throughout the year," Mr Hartsuyker said.