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Hexham ‘bottleneck’ will soon be a distant memory


The last bottleneck on the Pacific Highway, between Sydney and Brisbane, will soon be a distant memory.

Major construction work to widen Hexham Straight is scheduled to start mid-2023, with contractors to deliver the project now on board.

Georgiou Group Pty Ltd, Daracon Contractors Pty Ltd and SMEC Australia Pty Ltd will collaborate closely to deliver the development, which will improve safety and traffic flow for the 50,000 motorists and heavy vehicles who use this route every day. 

“The Australian Government and NSW Government have worked together to provide $2.1 billion to deliver the M1 extension and the Hexham Straight widening projects,” Transport for NSW regional director north Anna Zycki said on Thursday.

“The former chipped in $1.68 billion while the latter contributed $420 million.

“The work will be delivered as part of a collaborative alliance contract to ensure innovation, efficiency and value for money in bringing the plan to life.

“The project is part of one of the biggest infrastructure ventures for the region, which includes extending the M1 to Raymond Terrace as well.”

John Holland/Gamuda will also build the 10-kilometre southern section that extends from Black Hill to Tomago and Seymour Whyte will construct the five-kilometre northern section that bypasses Heatherbrae.

NSW Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Sam Farraway, Paterson MP Meryl Swanson, Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter Taylor Martin and Upper Hunter state MP Dave Layzell were on hand for the announcement, too.

“The imminent work will ensure thousands of vehicles keep moving, not only north and south, but also locals travelling back and forth from Maitland and Newcastle,” the federal member said.

“This has been a key priority for me since my election in 2016.

“So, I am delighted to be working with our state counterparts and my colleagues Pat Conroy, Sharon Claydon, Dan Repacholi, Sonia Hornery, Kate Washington and Jenny Aitchison MP to deliver it.”

The project will include the following key features:

  • A 15-kilometre motorway comprised of a four-lane divided road (two lanes in each direction)
  • Motorway access from the existing road network via four new interchanges at:

Black Hill: connection to the M1 Pacific Motorway

Tarro: connection and upgrade (six lanes) to the New England Highway between John Renshaw Drive and the existing Tarro interchange at Anderson Drive

Tomago: connection to the Pacific Highway and Old Punt Road

Raymond Terrace: connection to the Pacific Highway

  • A 2.6-kilometre viaduct over the Hunter River floodplain including new bridge crossings over the Hunter River, the Main North Rail Line, and the New England Highway
  • Bridge structures over local waterways at Tarro and Raymond Terrace, and an overpass for Masonite Road in Heatherbrae

Ms Zycki said the widening project would improve traffic flow along the Pacific Highway (Maitland Road) between Newcastle Inner City Bypass and Hexham Bridge, which is known as Hexham Straight. 

“It will also support economic growth at key employment areas such as the Port of Newcastle and greater Newcastle and is estimated to provide about 750 jobs over its life cycle,” she explained.

“Early works are well and truly underway with Transport for NSW carrying out field investigations to assist with the future detailed design and construction.   

“This is an exciting time for the Hunter and NSW as this project, together with the Coffs Harbour bypass, will provide the remaining major upgrades to complete a free-flowing route between Sydney and Brisbane with no traffic lights.”

The project is expected to be open to traffic in 2026.

For further information, visit nswroads.work/hexham

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