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Project Director speaks out

Lynne Mowbray Pacific Complete Project Director Chris Wilkinson has a huge job ahead of him as he oversees the construction of the Pacific Highway upgrade between Woolgoolga and Ballina. The Clarence Valley Independent caught up with Mr Wilkinson at the opening of the Pacific Complete office in Grafton, last Thursday. Mr Wilkinson said that he is originally from ‘up-state New York’, but before coming to Grafton, his work had taken him all around the world. “I previously worked in Western Australia, London, the UAE (United Arab Emirates), Iraq, Turkey and South America,” he said. “This (Pacific Complete’s new office in Grafton) is going to be headquarters for the Pacific Highway upgrade for the last 155 kilometres and this will be our main office and then we will have a series of satellite offices up and down the road, because quite frankly that is where all the action will be,” he said. “At the moment we’re doing a lot of planning and design work, refining the cost plan; were coming up with a packaging and procurement plan and were trying to optimise the program, to get the absolute best out of it.” Already there have been many skilled people move into the valley. “There’s a mix of everything; engineers, construction leads, procurement people, commercial people, safety professionals – it’s a whole range of skills that we’re going to use, in the construction industry,” said Mr Wilkinson. One of the biggest challenges faced by Pacific Complete is the massive size of this project. “There’s a $4b spend in four years, that’s a big challenge,” he said. “It’s a tremendous amount of work that has to be undertaken all at once and that needs to be really carefully planned and coordinated but the benefits are going to be obvious, when this constructions completed the roads are going to be that much safer. “We’ve been brought on by the (Roads and Maritime Service) RMS as a delivery partner, their problems are our problems – it’s a large amount of work to do in a short period of time and then it’s done. “Quite frankly the RMS has got a lot of other big projects going on. “All you need to do is drive south to see the really phenomenal investment the State is making in its infrastructure. “As an outsider, as a visitor, I’m quite impressed by that”.