The Maria River Rd, which links Port Macquarie with Crescent Head, will officially be sealed after money was allocated in the 2019/2020 state budget announced on June 18.
After decades of lobbying anyone who would listen, residents on the Maria River Rd can hardly believe it.
Denis Chard, who lives on the dangerous stretch of road, has seen a lot of car accidents in his time.
He collects car hub caps which have fallen off passing cars.
He hangs them on his fence in case motorists come back to collect them.
"The road is simply hell," Mr Chard said.
Apart from concerns about safety he said the dust is a killer.
"We have to live with our doors and windows closed," he said.
"We do all the washing twice because of the dust, we have dust in our water and we can't work outside."
Since the mid-1980s when he moved to Maria River Road, Mr Chard has been lobbying anyone who would listen about the road.
"They said in 1985 it was going to be tarred from Mundays Lane to the bridge," he said.
"It has been downright disappointing.
"Sometimes you get a bit of hope when you talk to pollies and then nothing happens."
Kempsey Shire councillor and Crescent Head resident Mark Baxter said the upgrade will be a "massive" boost to the Macleay Valley.
"It should increase the flow of tourists into the Macleay - lunch at Crescent, visit the Art Gallery at Gladstone, swim and dinner at Hat Head and scuba dive and sleepover at South West Rocks," Cr Baxter said.
"The Hastings Valley receives billions in tourist dollars from the 1.6 million tourists per year, our valley receives far less with only half a million tourists per year.
"If we can increase the flow of tourists we will address unemployment and poverty in our valley."
Before the state election on March 23, Port Macquarie MP Leslie Williams and Oxley MP Melinda Pavey promised a re-elected Liberal/National Government would seal Maria River Road.
Mr Chard said he was "delighted" to see money in the state budget.
He would now like more detail on when it will happen.
"All we know is that it will happen in the next four years which is good but I'd like something more concrete," he said.
North Shore resident John Steer said he cried when he heard the news the money was in the budget.
"Honestly there has been so many accidents and every time you drive along this road you are thinking who is going to be next, is there going to be a death?" Mr Steer said.
He vividly remembers helping two injured German backpackers whose van had flipped and petrol was leaking out of it.
He ended up driving them to hospital.
Mr Steer is hopeful an upgraded road will be easier on his car too.
"I'm a low-income earner and the repairs you end up doing from this road..." Mr Steer said.
There is some hope property prices may increase too with the upgrade to the road.
Beverley Dick's husband Gordon campaigned for years for Maria River Road to be upgraded.
He didn't live to see it happen but she is grateful it might finally be on the cards.
She plans to sell her home in the next couple of years.
"I am old now and have to think about selling my property," Mrs Dick said.
"It will add to the value hopefully if it happens."
Northside Progress Association Secretary Narelle Milligan said the benefit to the community will be "enormous".
She concedes there is some opposition to the upgrade due to fears a higher speed limit would encourage speeding.
Mrs Milligan said those people are in the "minority".
The Port News contacted Leslie Williams MP and Peta Pinson, Mayor of Port Macquarie-Hastings Council for more details on when work will start.
Cr Pinson said there was "no commencement date" to announce on the project.
"Now that the funding is secured, timing of the project will be considered with tenders requested from suitably experienced contractors," Cr Pinson said.
For now residents will have to wait, but hopefully for not much longer.
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