Pacific Highway Upgrade, Sapphire to Woolgoolga

Completed: 2014

The Sapphire to Woolgoolga project is a 25 kilometre upgrade of the Pacific Highway to a four lane divided highway from just north of Coffs Harbour to Arrawarra Beach Road on the northern approach to the coastal village of Woolgoolga.

The project also provides a continuous alternative local road between Sapphire and Woolgoolga for local traffic. The completion of the upgrade has resulted in improved road safety, uninterrupted highway traffic flow and easy access on and off the highway for local traffic at five interchanges.

Whilst most of the project was built on the previous Pacific Highway alignment, the northern one-third of the project deviates substantially inland forming a bypass of Woolgoolga.

The design responds to three distinct character zones identified along the route that can be classified into the following:

  • Coastal – from the start of the route up to the Sapphire Interchange, dominated by the presence of the Pacific Ocean either through direct views or the implied presence of the Ocean due to its close proximity to the coast line
  • Rural / Suburban – from the Sapphire Interchange to the start of the bypass at South Woolgoolga, characterised by the presence of residential development in association with natural and agricultural systems ƒ
  • Forest – from the start of the bypass to the end of the project route at Arrawarra, characterised by the steepest terrain of the corridor, intensive agricultural production (predominantly bananas and blueberries) and forested landscapes.

Whilst a consistent approach to urban design elements ensures the unity of design within the project and Pacific Highway upgrades in general, the design of noise barriers, walls and vegetation treatments reflects the natural context and unique communities along the highway.

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