Inflation adds $70m to highway upgrade’s cost

THE cost of the Foxground and Berry bypass has jumped $70 million in the past two years because of “inflation and other costs”, according to a Roads and Maritime Services spokeswoman.

NSW Premier Mike Baird revealed the 13 per cent cost hike when he visited Gerringong on Wednesday, issuing a press release that showed the road would cost $580 million instead of the previously estimated $510 million.

Mr Baird’s office was asked to explain the reasons behind the difference between the estimated and real costs, and how the government would fund this increase.

No response has been received.

An RMS spokeswoman issued the following statement:

“The initial $510 million cost for the Foxground and Berry bypass was estimated in 2012 dollars before the project went to tender and further detailed planning was carried out,” she said.

“The updated cost incorporates inflation and other costs which will enable the bypass to open in mid-2018, weather permitting.”

While in the Kiama electorate Mr Baird inspected the Princes Highway upgrade at Gerringong, announcing the contract for the $580 million Foxground/Berry bypass had been awarded to Fulton Hogan. 

Defending the project on Twitter, Kiama MP Gareth Ward said the $70 million difference was not a cost blowout, explaining “We went to tender and that’s the market price”.

Further details have been sought from roads minister Duncan Gay and the RMS.

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