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Mayor Sue Moore repeats calls for a better Singleton bypass

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Singleton mayor Sue Moore has again called on the NSW Government to reconsider its plans for the Singleton bypass and include a dual carriageway, as well as a full interchange at Putty Road.

Even though she’d already written to the NSW Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Paul Toole this week to request a meeting as soon as possible, Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack, New England MP Barnaby Joyce, Upper Hunter MP Michael Johnsen and Mr Toole announced today (Wednesday 20 January) the $700 million project was pushing ahead.

At the moment, some 26,000 vehicles, including more than 3,700 trucks, pass through Singleton every day.

With $560 million committed by the Australian Government last year, Mr Joyce stated the bypass would be designed to cater for a “later upgrade to a dual carriageway where required to meet future traffic demands”.

A frustrated Cr Moore said she was committed to ensuring the best outcome for the people of Singleton – and for those who drove through the LGA every day.

“The Australian and NSW governments say they are now seeking industry feedback on the best way to deliver the bypass,” she explained.

“And, what we’re hearing from our community and from the motorists who’ll be using the road is to make it dual lanes with a full interchange.

“We also need to listen to the delivery truck drivers and the others who service the town centre to understand what their needs are; and which way they need to get onto John Street.

“I’ve said repeatedly that I am whole-heartedly supportive of the concept of the Singleton bypass and the importance of this vital piece of infrastructure to our community, but we only get one chance to get it right.”

Cr Moore said she was thrilled with the commitment to start work on the project as soon as possible but disappointed the design didn’t go far enough to plan for the community’s needs now – and into the future.

“After years of lobbying, we don’t want the Singleton bypass of the New England Highway to become a bittersweet project,” she added.

“We should be learning from the Hunter Expressway and the fortitude that was shown for the Branxton interchange to accommodate the future development at Huntlee, as well as the work of the local community to entice people to stop in Branxton from both directions.

“We have the opportunity to plan for the long-term, to provide the best possible outcome for our community.

“I don’t want the people of Singleton to come this far, only to be in the position of having to lobby for more money later on to address issues we’re raising now.”

Singleton mayor Sue Moore.

Mr McCormack said the New England Highway was a vital inland road link between Sydney and Brisbane; and the primary route connecting the Upper Hunter with Maitland and Newcastle.

“The Australian Government has committed $560 million towards a new bypass of Singleton as part of our record investment in transport infrastructure, delivering safer and more efficient journeys for thousands of motorists every day,” the Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development explained.

“We’re now seeking industry feedback on the best way to deliver the bypass so we can get shovels in the ground and construction happening as quickly as possible.

“We will continue to roll out these types of major projects across the nation under our record $110 billion infrastructure investment plan, which is laying the foundations for our economic recovery from COVID-19.”

The bypass is a big commitment that would remove one of the region’s most notorious bottlenecks, according to Mr Toole.

“We know how important this project is to the community, which is why the NSW Government has committed $140 million towards the project,” he added.

“And, with so many vehicles passing through the CBD daily, a bypass will be a real game-changer.

“It will remove approximately 15,000 per day from the town centre, ease congestion and improve safety as well as deliver travel time savings for thousands of motorists.”

Local member Mr Johnsen said work on the eight-kilometre bypass was expected to start in mid-2023 and be completed by late 2026, with lasting benefits for the community.

“This project is expected to support more than 1,370 jobs and we will draw on our local Singleton businesses and contractors to maximise the benefit of this activity,” he stated.

“It’s vital to keep infrastructure and jobs in our regions as we continue the economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Mr Joyce also proclaimed the project had been planned effectively.

“I’m excited that it is moving forward because it will make our region an even better place to live, work and visit,” he admitted.

“The community has helped shape the design for the bypass and now we want to engage with the experts in the field to ensure we are well-positioned to deliver it ASAP.

“We have a plan that’s going to bring more people into the New England and Upper Hunter, get them there quickly and safely so they can spend their money in your shops and motels.”

Transport for NSW is currently finalising the concept design and will keep the community informed as the project progresses.

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