THE new Woodburn, Wardell and Broadwater bypass ‒ a key element in the Pacific Highway upgrade ‒ has been officially opened by Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack, Page MP Kevin Hogan and Clarence MP Chris Gupaltis.
The main aim of the 34km project was to reduce fatalities and improve community safety along the motorway.
“This highway will always be about the fact we wanted to reduce fatalities on this motorway,” Mr Hogan said.
“We’ve had multiple fatalities on this specific highway for decades and it is about time it got upgraded to a 21st century road and that’s what we’ve got right now. We’re going to see a decrease in fatalities,” Mr Gupaltis said.
The bypass is set to be open in time for the school holidays, which politicians say will be a huge boost to this area.
“Once it’s open it is going to be great for tourism, (I) can’t wait, in a week or two we will not be getting traffic jams every school holidays and at Christmas time (when) you can’t go near the joint because of the multi-kilometre backlog,” Mr Hogan said.
“People this year are going to be holidaying at home, they’re going to be holidaying in Australia and going to a destination in Australia … with more people on the roads we need better road infrastructure,” Mr McCormack said.
The trio urged calm over concerns that local businesses in the three towns would suffer as a result of the bypass.
“We need to get these areas back firing again, back to what they were pre-COVID, pre-bushfires, pre-drought … because these areas are vital to our nation, these areas are great tourist destinations and they’re great for agriculture, they’re great for jobs,” Mr McCormack said.
“In the initial stage, trade does go down but we’ve done a lot of work to make sure those communities bounce back … I think places like Broadwater, Woodburn and Wardell will become destinations unto themselves,” Mr Hogan said.