Bridge won’t delay highway upgrade, says minister

DUPLICATION of the Pacific Highway will not be delayed by funds being shifted to the construction of a $25 million pedestrian bridge in Sydney, according to New South Wales Roads Minister Duncan Gay.

Mr Gay was responding to a Sydney Morning Herald article on Saturday that said $4 million from a safety strategy for the Pacific Highway had gone to help build the Albert 'Tibby' Cotter Bridge over Anzac Pde, near the Sydney Cricket Ground, ahead of the 2015 Cricket World Cup.

The newspaper reported that documents obtained using Freedom of Information laws showed the State Government did not include the bridge in the 2013-14 budget and funding needed to be found from elsewhere in the Roads department's allocation.

The reason given for the $4 million reduction in the Pacific Highway safety strategy was that the work was "no longer required due to imminent duplication of the highway".

The newspaper said the highway duplication "is unlikely to be finished this decade".

Mr Gay's response came in a press release headed "Pacific Highway on track to be fully duplicated by 2020".

"A newspaper article contained an inference I had prioritised another project over safety upgrades on the Pacific Highway," the minister stated.

"There is no basis to this allegation. There is no delay to construction on full duplication.

"This work identified in the article is not part of duplication, it was separate work identified when the former Labor government refused to fund the duplication.

"That is clearly no longer an issue now that the Liberals and Nationals Coalition has restored the 80:20 funding split."

"This highway will be fully duplicated by the end of the decade."