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Statement by Andrew Woodward – Labor Candidate for Cowper

Monday, 7 May 2018

Pacific Highway upgrade now a full-on bungle

The late finish of the Pacific Highway upgrade between Coffs Harbour and Port Macquarie has now blown out into a full-scale bungle with the last remaining unfinished section now expected to open late 2018 – a full year behind schedule. 

Luke Hartsuyker and The Nationals have serious questions to answer over the late completion of the Pacific Highway – why has this occurred, who is responsible, what are the repercussions for those at fault and when will it be open?

Thankfully, the majority of the work has been opened between Port Macquarie and Coffs Harbour. But the dangerous, narrow and winding section just south of Macksville from Warrell Creek to Upper Warrell Creek Road remains a full-blown construction site. 

The $830 million project between Nambucca Heads and Warrell Creek work was due for full completion by the end of last year and it is already four months late. 

The then Minister for Transport, Darren Chester, on 1 November 2017, said the unfinished section was “expected to be open in the coming months”, implying earlier this year. 

Six months on it is not open and it is far from finished. Have a look for yourself. Sure, the ground is broken but there is no road surface in parts; no barriers; no landscaping; no signage and no line marking. The bridge and surrounds at Warrell Creek appear about half finished. 

I wouldn’t expect traffic will be flowing on all four lanes until the end of the year. That’s a full-on bungle and we need to know what’s gone wrong and when we will have the four lanes opened to traffic as promised. 

This critical piece of infrastructure will reduce accidents and human trauma, increase amenity and improve travel times. The merits of the project are not in question. The issue is that this ‘missing link’ is running late with no explanation for the bungle from either Canberra or Sydney.

Late last year Luke Hartsuyker was caught out making up excuses as to why this project was running late – there was a paperwork issue between the Federal and NSW Government; then it was the availability of contractors and then, wait for it, the weather.

Luke Hartsuyker has no idea about what’s happening locally and just makes things up. He needs to answer serious questions about this bungle by his government. 



  • Fact checking conducted in November 2017: LINK
  • Luke Hartsuyker’s excuses to the media from November 2017: LINK



Updated: 7 May 2018

4 thoughts on “News Release: Pacific Highway upgrade now a full-on​ bungle

  1. The explanation given is that this section was de-prioritised in late 2017 to divert resources to getting the Macksville Bypass section open by Christmas, which was a huge improvement. Also, the description of the state of the Warrell Creek section here is massive overreach. I drove around the project a month ago to check out progress for myself, and a majority of it looks ready for linemarking. The bridges are also well beyond 50% complete – probably closer to 90%.

    Yes, the project is late, but the real culprit for that is Andrew Stoner’s ridiculous route review of the Macksville Bypass section back in 2012 that caused the southern half of the Warrell Creek to Urunga project to be split off and contracted sepaprately to the northern section from Nambucca Heads to Urunga (all to appease some farmer mates who wanted to re-route the highway away from their properties, and turned out not to be able to design a route as well as qualified road engineers, something taxpayers spent $2 million dollars and 18 months to confirm).

    This project at Warrell Creek is a Labour-funded project. Have some respect, and don’t treat your potential constituents as too ignorant to know the state of the project, or to understand that sometimes delays occur as priorities are juggled, and weather (there were floods here a few months ago, remember?) intervenes.

    Criticising the Nationals on their record on the Highway should be the easiest task. There’s no need to damage your own credibility with hyperbolic overreach.


  2. Just noticed also that you even include a photograph of the new bridge with guardrails already installed (one of the last steps in construction) in your post claiming the bridges are only 50% complete. People want the road finished, but they’re heartily sick of it being used as a political football.


  3. Hi John, this section of the road was due for completion before Christmas last year. It will be lucky to be open this year. I hope I can be proven wrong.

    And yes, there are guardrails and the bridge it is surrounded by soil. If you are able to get an updated completion date I would welcome it.


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