The Government of New South Wales in Australia has opened a 5km section of the Pacific Highway from Glenugie to Ballina.

The new four-lane divided road is expected to boost safety and lower travel time between the regions.

This work is part of the Woolgoolga to Ballina Pacific Highway upgrade, which is currently under construction.

Woolgoolga to Ballina represents the final link in the Pacific Highway between Hexham and the Queensland border.

The project includes the transformation of 155km of the road into a four-lane divided road. It starts around 6km north of Woolgoolga and ends around 6km south of Ballina.

At present, 26km of the highway is open to traffic while 129km is under construction. This upgraded road is expected to reduce travel time between the two cities to 25 minutes.

Under the project, the highway will be upgraded to a Class M motorway across its 155km length.

Work also includes the construction of nine interchanges, 170 bridges and over 350 connectivity structures. It is expected to complete next year.

The road will bypass South Grafton, Ulmarra, Woodburn, Broadwater and Wardell.

The Woolgoolga to Ballina Pacific Highway upgrade project is worth A$4.94bn ($3.4bn) and is being jointly financed by the Australian and NSW governments on an 80:20 basis.

NSW Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Paul Toole said: “The Pacific Highway upgrade is one of the largest regional infrastructure projects in Australia, with fatalities already reduced by more than half since the upgrade started 23 years ago and that is the motivation driving the team every day.”

In 2017, CPB Contractors secured a A$365m ($290m) contract for upgrade works on the Devils Pulpit to Richmond River section of the Woolgoolga and Ballina Pacific Highway upgrade.