Section: Karuah

Signage for the 10km Karuah Bypass just prior to its opening. Aug 2004.

At first the Pacific Highway did not pass through Karuah, instead following what is now the Bucketts Way through Stroud and Gloucester en route to Taree. However, this was changed on 22 August 1952 when the Pacific Highway was redeclared to incorporate a new route between Twelve Mile Creek and Purfleet, passing through Karuah. However, due to the need to bridge the Karuah River and the poor quality of existing roads between Karuah and Bulahdelah the Department of Main Roads decided to seal the Booral-Bulahdelah Road , allowing highway traffic to use the Bulahdelah-Purfleet section of the new highway alignment sooner. A vehicular ferry had been in operation across the Karuah River for a number of years prior to the redeclaration of the highway, and this was replaced by a steel truss bridge in December 1957. However, it was a further six years before this section of the highway was carrying through traffic.

As part of the Pacific Highway Upgrade programme, launched in September 1996, a bypass of Karuah was mooted. The 9.6km long bypass, known as the Horse Island proposal, diverges from the existing highway at Swan Bay Road, about 4km west of Karuah, rejoining the highway at The Branch Lane, about 4km northeast of Karuah. The four-lane freeway-standard bypass includes 612m twin bridges over the Karuah River at Horse Island , and a 200m bridge over protected wetlands adjacent to the island. Construction commenced in June 2002 and the $117 million bypass was opened to traffic in September 2004. The old highway through Karuah is still trafficable and is now named a very unoriginal ‘Old Pacific Highway’.

Current Highway (Karuah Bypass)
Signage northbound for the Karuah Bypass. Be prepared - signage for the Karuah Bypass is shockingly designed. You have been warned :p Nov 2005.
Distance sign heading west from the western end of the Karuah Bypass. Nov 2005.
Looking north at the western interchange, showing construction progress as at August 2004.
Distance sign heading east from the western interchange. Nov 2005.
Looking west towards the Horse Island Bridge over the Karuah River. Nov 2005.
Looking west from the eastern interchange. Nov 2005.
Distance sign heading west from the eastern interchange. Nov 2005.
Distance sign heading east from the eastern interchange. Construction of the Karuah-Bulahdelah Upgrade Stage 1 can be seen in the background. Nov 2005.
Looking west towards the eastern end of the Karuah Bypass, showing construction progress at August 2004.
Old Pacific Highway (1952-2004)
Looking east between Swan Bay Rd and Karuah. Aug 2004.
Pre-bypass view of the old highway between Karuah and Swan Bay Rd. Aug 2004.
Looking east through Karuah township. The third lane and median turning lane were created during 2002 as interim measures to manage holiday traffic flows. Aug 2004.
Looking west at Bundabah Street in Karuah. These traffic signals were installed in 2002 as an interim measure to help improve traffic flow in holiday periods. Aug 2004.
The steel truss bridge over the Karuah River, built by the Department of Main Roads in 1957. Nov 2005.
Looking west towards the Karuah River bridge and Karuah township from the east. Nov 2005.

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