The Australian and New South Wales governments jointly funded the upgrade of the 204 kilometre section of the Pacific Highway between Coffs Harbour and Ballina.
This highway upgrade is being built in multiple sections with the remaining 129 kilometre section of the Woolgoolga to Ballina upgrade expected to open to traffic in 2020.
A number of towns will be bypassed as part of the highway upgrade including Woolgoolga, South Grafton, Ulmarra, Woodburn, Broadwater and Wardell. Bypassing towns reduces travelling pinch points by diverting the major highway around a town, and takes the flow of 'through' traffic away from the town.
The benefits for these towns has been removing some traffic congestion in the town, reducing noise and vibration and improving road safety, making the town centre more attractive to visitors.
Since opening to traffic some sections of the highway upgrade, it has improved connectivity between coastal towns and regional centres. There has been improved travel efficiency with reduced travel times of about six minutes between Coffs Harbour and Grafton. Once complete the estimated travel time reduction is expected to be more than 30 minutes.