Section: Possum Brush to Taree

Looking south towards Koorainghat. Aug 2004.

This 17km section of the Pacific Highway was not part of the original route of the highway. The Government Gazette of 22 August 1952 made official a change in route of the Pacific Highway , routing it through Karuah, Bulahdelah and Nabiac, rather than via what is now Bucketts Way . The new route made use of existing roads where possible which would be upgraded to highway standard over the next eleven years. Between Nabiac and Taree a road had existed prior to 1952 and thus the Department of Main Roads simply realigned and sealed the road to bring it up to highway standards. Sealing was completed as far north as Bungwahl Creek in June 1957 and as far as Purfleet (South Taree) in April 1958. The completion of this last section of bitumen meant a dust-free surface had now been provided for then entire length of Pacific Highway .

Construction of dual carriageways on this section of the highway was commenced in 1990 and the first section, known as the Possum Brush Deviation, was opened to traffic in August 1991. This initially short section of four lane road was then extended south to Failford Road and north to the southern end of a future Taree Bypass - completed in May 1993. Traces of former highway pavement that were abandoned after the completion of the dual carriageways can be found at Failford Cemetery (~500m long), at Talawahl Creek (old highway bridge over creek), and Talawahl Rest Area. Two local roads, Bonvale Close (on the south side of The Lakes Way for 1.7km) and Godfrey Hill Drive (on the north side of the Lakes Way for 3km) were also once part of the highway, prior to the completion of the Rainbow Flat Deviation in May 1993.

An at-grade intersection was constructed at the junction of the relocated highway and The Lakes Way as part of this upgrade, however it became the scene of several accidents where traffic turning onto the highway northbound misjudged the speed of southbound traffic. As an interim measure the southbound speed limit was lowered from 110km/h to 90km/h until the construction of a grade-separated interchange could be completed. Unfortunately, the interchange, which was admittedly a knee-jerk reaction, was constructed rather hastily and did not include an acceleration lane for southbound traffic entering the highway! The trumpet interchange was opened to traffic during July 2005.

Initially the existing highway was incorporated into the dual carriageways for use as the northbound carriageway between Failford Road and Bonvale Close. However, in October 2004 the State Government announced a new project which would realign the old highway for 3km to parallel the southbound carriageway which is on a much improved alignment. No construction timeframe has been set.

Current route of Pacific Highway
Distance sign heading south from Failford Rd. This has since been removed. Aug 2004.
ID sign missing a NR1 shield at Failford Rd. Nov 2005.
Unusual AD sign approaching the Pacific Hwy from Failford Rd. Nov 2005.
Distance sign heading north from Failford Rd. Nov 2005.
Southbound AD sign for Failford Rd. Following the opening of the Bulahdelah-Coolongolook Freeway Failford Rd became the signposted route from the Pacific Highway into Forster/Tuncurry. Oct 2005.
Looking south towards Failford Rd. You can see the northbound carriageway, which was the original highway, on a poor vertical alignment. Nov 2005.
A view of the northbound carriageway which once carried two-way traffic. It is on a much poorer alignment than the newer southbound carriageway and is set to be realigned. Nov 2005.
Another view of the northbound carriageway. If it wasn't for the arrows on the road you could almost swear you were on a tow-way road. Nov 2005.
Looking south between The Lakes Way and Blackbutts Rd. Oct 2005.
Northbound AD sign for The Lakes Way interchange at Rainbow Flat. Nov 2005.
Old AD sign for the former at-grade intersection with The Lakes Way at Rainbow Flat. Note the incorrect National Highway 1 shield. Aug 2004.
Southbound AD sign for the former at-grade intersection with The Lakes Way at Rainbow Flat, with earthworks for the grade-separated interchange underway. Aug 2004.
An earlier photo of the same sign, this time showing the former at-grade intersection with The Lakes Way. Oct 2002.
Looking south at The Lakes Way interchange. Oct 2005.
Southbound AD sign for The Lakes Way interchange. Oct 2005.
Distance sign heading north from The Lakes Way. Aug 2004.
Looking south into the 90km/h zone for southbound traffic approaching The Lakes Way. This speed restriction has since been lifted following the opening of the grade-separated interchange in July 2005. Aug 2004.
Southbound tourist loop signage for The Lakes Way interchange. Nov 2005.
Looking south approaching the turnoff to Koorainghat which is Godfrey Hill Dr - the route of the Pacific Hwy until the Rainbow Flat Deviation was opened to traffic in 1993. Nov 2005.
Looking south approaching Jack Wards Rd & Fords Rd. This is right near the southern end of the Taree Bypass. Aug 2004.
Bonvale Close and Godfrey Hill Drive (Pacific Hwy from 1952 until 1993)
Looking south on what is now Bonvale Close to where the old alignment rejoins the current alignment, about 2km south of Rainbow Flat. There is no access to the current alignment of the Pacific Hwy from here. Nov 2005.
Looking south along Bonvale Close. Nov 2005.
Looking south from The Lakes Way on Bonvale Close. Note the old line markings for the protected right turn bay. Nov 2005.
Looking north from The Lakes Way into Rainbow Flat. Nov 2005.
Old style tourist turnoff signage still remaining southbound on Godfrey Hill Drive approaching The Lakes Way. Nov 2005.
Looking north along Godfrey Hill Dr between Rainbow Flat and Koorainghat. Nov 2005.
Looking north over the old bridge across Koorainghat Creek. The warning signs refer to the junction with Pacific Highway which is less than 100m ahead. Nov 2005.
Old section of highway pavement rejoining the current northbound carriageway just north of Four Mile Hill rest area. There was some construction underway which is swallowing the old highway on the western side of the current alignment. Nov 2005.

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