Accelerate Pacific upgrade to stop deaths: MP

Nationals MP for Cowper Luke Hartsuyker calls for upgrade to deadly stretch of Pacific Highway to be accelerated

By Brad Gardner | November 19, 2010

The NSW and federal governments are being urged to fast-track upgrades to a dangerous stretch of the Pacific Highway following the death of a young truck driver.

Nationals MP for Cowper Luke Hartsuyker says urgent work is required to upgrade a route at Urunga from a two-lane highway to a divided carriageway. The project is not due to be completed until the end of 2016.

The 38-year-old truckie died earlier this week when his vehicle rolled on a section of a road where a serious three-vehicle accident recently occurred.

"The highway is clearly past its use by date. It is not able to carry the degree of traffic which is growing year in, year out. This matter has to be urgently attended to," Hartsuyker says.

"People in my electorate are dying every few months, and it is absolutely unacceptable."

Hartsuyker says a dual carriageway was needed years ago, but not enough work is being done.

"The state minister has come out stating that planning is underway. The planning is endless – there is endless public display and endless environmental assessment," he says.

"It is vitally important that the pace of construction is accelerated, as well as the processes for approval and assessment, so that we can achieve a real increase in the rate of construction."

A planning proposal for the Warrell Creek to Urunga upgrade says the route is a key component of the Pacific Highway, which carries about eight million tonnes of freight every year.

The proposal anticipates a surge in traffic volumes due to population growth.

"Traffic volumes on the highway have approximately doubled in the 18 years between 1986 and 2004," the proposal says.

As well as safety benefits, a dual carriageway is tipped to improve freight productivity and reduce transport costs by cutting travel times.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Sign up to receive the ABC e-newsletter, digital magazine and other offers we choose to share with you straight to your inbox

You can also follow our updates by liking us on Facebook