THE Banora Point Pacific Highway upgrade has been awarded a prestigious environmental award.
Richmond MP Justine Elliot said the International Erosion Control Association premier award recognised outstanding sediment and erosion control and natural resource conservation.
"This award acknowledges the systems and programs used in this project to achieve excellence in environmental protection," Mrs Elliot said.
"The submission outlined the project's innovative environmental initiatives and provided documented evidence of their successes.
"The most notable initiative contributing to the project's award was a 'triple-stack' design at the northbound on ramp.
"This helps treat run-off water from the road surface while conserving considerable space.
"The design also included a clean water pipe under a sediment basin and an open vegetated biofiltration channel on the surface which is used to treat road surface runoff in an area no bigger than one lane wide.
She said an innovative sediment capture system also contributed to the award.
"This system ensured site water was treated before being released into the natural drainage line which joins the sensitive environmental areas downstream.
"Using this erosion control system achieved excellent environmental outcomes for water quality and for the sustainable re-use of materials," Mrs Elliot said.
Tweed MP Geoff Provest said the building methods adopted by the project resulted in reduced impacts to water quality, water flow, and flood risk.
"It is a great achievement for the Banora Point upgrade to be recognised internationally for its innovative erosion and sediment controls," Mr Provest said.
"As part of the project design, a complex drain extension program was required to refurbish existing drains and accommodate new drain pipes under the new highway lanes.
"This work required the ongoing management of clean water from multiple sources, including Lake Kimberley, tidal flows from the Tweed River, and significant storm water from the local roads, highway, and surrounding urban catchment."
The Banora Point upgrade is expected to be fully open to traffic during mid-2012, with work on local roads around it scheduled for completion before the end of the year.
The Australian and NSW Governments have contributed $349 million and $10 million each, respectively, to the project.