More than 250 people from 110 companies attended an industry briefing in August to learn about key features of the project, expected challenges and overall delivery strategy.
“The construction of this section of highway between Woolgoolga and Ballina is expected to provide about 2,500 direct jobs and 6,500 indirect jobs in the broader community,” said deputy prime minister Warren Truss.
Minister for roads and freight Duncan Gay said that the Australian and NSW governments had provided funding to complete early work and planning on what he described as the Australia's largest regional road infrastructure project. “While the delivery partner is procured, Roads & Maritime will continue with key early work such as implementing approval conditions for the project, continuing with land acquisition, starting soft soil treatments and moving public utlities,” he said.
Contracts are already in place to design and build the 105km of highway upgrade between Port Macquarie and Coffs Harbour. Tenders have also been invited to build the 26km section between Woolgoolga and Glenugie.
A briefing for pre-registered companies will be held in coming weeks for those interested in submitting an expression of interest to oversee the project's delivery by 2020.
Companies will be invited to submit a proposal for the delivery partner role and a shortlist of applicants will then will be guided through a competitive process to develop their proposal including commercial terms.
Roads & Maritime will progress to a formal agreement with the preferred participant with an announcement expected in early 2015.