Newspaper article Tweed Daily News (Tweed Heads, Australia)

Get Straight to the Point; Bypass Cuts Travel Time between States

Newspaper article Tweed Daily News (Tweed Heads, Australia)

Get Straight to the Point; Bypass Cuts Travel Time between States

Article excerpt

Byline: NEELIMA CHOAHAN

FOR the first time in 20 years, long-term Tugun resident Ed Sawden is enjoying a return to a peaceful night of sleep.

The 62-year-old, who has lived in the area all his life, believes that life is a lot more comfortable since the new Tugun bypass opened a little more than six months ago on June 3, 2008.

"There are not so many police, ambulance and fire brigade sirens waking you up at all hours of the morning," Mr Sawden said.

"Earlier, it was like living in the middle of a big city."

Opened to traffic six months ahead of schedule, the four-lane road was built almost a decade after it was first flagged by the Queensland Government.

Jointly funded by the Federal and Queensland governments and constructed by PacificLink Alliance, the bypass was initially estimated to cost $157 million.

Finally costing $543 million, it was dubbed one of the most expensive roads in Australia, but it cuts travel time between Tweed Heads and Currumbin from 20 to five minutes.

Since opening, the 7.5km stretch of bitumen has been used by more than seven million vehicles.

According to a Queensland Department of Main Roads spokeswoman, the bypass carries between 35,000 and 40,000 vehicles per day.

It takes traffic to the west of the Gold Coast Airport, connecting to the Stewart Road interchange at Currumbin and the Tweed Heads bypass north of Kennedy Drive at Tweed Heads West.

But six months on, and the controversial development still evokes strong feelings among locals.

Activist Harmony Church wants drivers to spare a thought for the local flora and fauna each time they are on the Tugun bypass.

"Pay some respects to all the plants and animals that had to die for you to drive here," Ms Church said.

The project has also invited the ire of environmentalists like Lindy Smith who argues the construction has led to groundwater contamination from oxidation of acid sulphate soil.

"It was a hugely complex project that had to be managed properly," Ms Smith said. …

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