Sod turned on longest bridge on Pacific Highway

A NEW bridge over the Clarence River at Harwood will be the longest of more than 40 bridges to be built as part of the 155km Woolgoolga to Ballina upgrade along the Pacific Hwy.

The first sod on the project was turned yesterday.

Infrastructure and Transport Minister Darren Chester said the bridge would be 1.5km in length, four lanes wide and have a 30m clearance from the river.

"This clearance aspect is essential to the new bridge, as the Harwood Bridge currently opens about five times a week for boats to pass underneath, causing lengthy traffic delays," he said. "The new bridge won't need to be lifted, ensuring another section of free-flowing Pacific Highway."

Page MP Kevin Hogan said the project was an important part of the highway upgrade, to which the Australian Government is contributing $5.64 billion.

"Travel times are expected to be reduced by 2.5 hours when the entire upgrade is complete," he said.