Section: Coolongolook to Wang Wauk River

Looking north to Cureeki Ck Rd & Locketts Crossing Rd on the south side of Coolongolook. Note the large cutting visible beyond Coolongolook township. Nov 2005.

This 12km section of the Pacific Highway , from south of Kennedys Gap Rd to the Wang Wauk River , was not part of the original route of the Pacific 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. In this particular case, a road had been constructed between Bulahdelah and Nabiac via Wootton during 1940 as unemployment relief. At the time of gazettal as part of the Pacific Highway , the road was nothing more than a gravel-surface developmental road. The Department of Main Roads began sealing the road immediately and, fortunately, only minor improvements to the alignment were needed to bring it up to highway standard. Sealing of this section of the highway was completed in December 1955.

Upgrading of this section of the Pacific Highway was identified as a priority by the Federal Government in 1996 and thus was commenced early in the upgrading programme. Construction of the $50 million (2001) project began in the latter half of 1999 and involved the construction a new two-lane road alongside the existing highway to form dual carriageways. Unfortunately, the town of Coolongolook was not bypassed as part of this project and highway traffic must slow to 80km/h to pass through the township. Fortunately there are no pedestrian crossings or traffic signals on the highway. The upgrade of this section of highway was completed and opened to traffic on 29 October 2001 . For a 500m section in the vicinity of Kennedys Gap Rd and School House Creek there is a section of the original highway on the west side of the current highway - acting as a service road to properties abutting the old highway.

Looking north towards Schoolhouse Creek where the old highway remains intact to the western side of the current alignment. Nov 2005.
Looking north where the old highway rejoins the current highway at Kennedys Gap Rd. Nov 2005.
Looking south to Kennedys Gap Rd. The old highway can be seen on the right of the current alignment. Nov 2005.
Not sure why such a large diagrammatic sign was needed for this junction. Oct 2005.
1950s bridge across Cureeki Creek still in use as the southbound carriageway. Aug 2004.
Looking south through the town of Coolongolook. Nov 2005.
Looking south through the large cutting just north of Coolongolook. Note sure why this crest wasn't removed during construction of dual carriageways in 1998-2000. Aug 2004.
Looking north from the large cutting just north of Coolongolook. Nov 2005.
Looking north across the Wang Wauk River - the northern end of this section of the Pacific Hwy. Nov 2005.
Looking south across the Wang Wauk River showing the old and new bridges. The southbound bridge was only opened to traffic in December 1986 and thus it was incorporated into the dual carriageways.Aug 2004.
Looking south along Wang Wauk Road - this section, which runs parallel to the current highway, was the two-way Pacific Highway until 1986, when the current southbound bridge over Wang Wauk River was opened to two-way traffic.
Source: David Farlow, 2000.

Last updated 26 January 2009
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