WATCH: Deputy PM inspects highway project's biggest bridge
THE DEPUTY Prime Minister, Michael McCormack, stopped in to Harwood this morning to view construction progress on the new bridge across the Clarence River as part of the Pacific Highway upgrade.
In his first visit to the region since becoming Deputy PM, Mr McCormack, who is also Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, said he was excited to see the work being done on the 1.5km, 36 span bridge.
"A big river, the Clarence River, requires a big bridge to go over it, and that's what's being built," he said.
"This bridge is employing a lot of locals, mostly locals using mostly Australia steel, mostly Australian concrete.
"The statistics for this bridge at Harwood are impressive. Just think about 144 girders, 44m long weighing 168 tonnes each but more impressive than that are the statistics on the lives that are going to be saved by the Pacific Highway upgrade.
"More impressive that some of the statistics on concrete and steel and everything else that's going on is the fact that it's not only saving lives, but it's also going to save, when completed, 2.5 hours of travel time when people travel the Pacific Highway."
Joining Mr McCormack at the site were deputy Nationals leader and Minister for Sport and Minister for Regional Communications Bridget McKenzie as well as Page MP Kevin Hogan.
Mr Hogan said the new bridge would improve safety and efficiency on the Pacific Highway.
"This 1.5km crossing is one of the crowning jewels of the Woolgoolga to Ballina section of the Pacific Highway upgrade, and the ongoing installation of concrete girders, each up to 44m long, is an impressive project," he said.
Mr Hogan said the 144 girders would continue to be installed over the next six months.
"The milestones keep coming for this transformational project, with girder installation ongoing, following the completion of all 117 land and marine piles late last year," he said.