It cost taxpayers more than $50,000,000 a kilometre, but the new Tintenbar-Ewingsdale stretch of the Pacific Highway is now open to traffic.
The 17 kilometre upgrade, which cost $862,000,000 opened today.
It runs through the Byron hinterland and features twin tunnels at St Helena.
The federal member for Page Kevin Hogan, said the project was scheduled to be finished in October, but was delayed by bad weather.
“There was a period of two to three months when there was very little work done,” he said.
“They couldn’t work inside the tunnel because of the rain and it just held the whole thing up.
“Even towards the latter part we’ve had a bit of rain as well, and there was a section on the northern side of the tunnel that took longer to build support for the road there.
“It’s a really important part of the highway that’s now completed and we’re really excited that it’s open before Christmas.”
Mr Hogan said the project ran slightly over time and budget but the timing of its completion is great news.
“We were very keen that this section be open before Christmas,” he said.
“The most spectacular part of this section is obviously the tunnel that goes through St Helena, so motorists will definitely notice a difference there.
“But this will hopefully help the bottleneck at Byron Bay that we see every Christmas and now importantly take this dual carriageway from Brisbane to south of Ballina.”
The Federal Opposition Infrastructure spokesman, Anthony Albanese, said Labor deserves a fair share of credit for the Pacific Highway upgrade.
“It was part of the record funding that we put towards the pacific Highway where we allocated $7.9 million while we were in government, compared with $1.3 billion over double the time that the Howard government was in office,” he said.
Source: ABC News