Industry News

$500M Newell Highway upgrades now complete

The completion of 38 new overtaking lanes along the full length of the Newell Highway in New South Wales will mean faster, safer and more reliable journeys for freight operators.

The overtaking lanes have been completed as part of a four-year project to build around 60 kilometres of new overtaking lanes between Tocumwal in the south of the state and Narrabri in the north.

Eight of the new overtaking lanes have been built in the Pilliga, between Coonabarabran and Narrabri. They are now open at:

Pilliga, about 15 kilometres north of Coonabarabran
Dandry, about 30 kilometres north of Coonabarabran
Near the Pilliga Rest Area, about 63 kilometres north of Coonabarabran
Near the Sir William Bridges Rest Area, about 24 kilometres south of Narrabri

Federal Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government Minister, Catherine King, said the four Pilliga sites had been selected to maximise safety, efficiency and value for money.

“Building overtaking lanes in pairs, as we’ve been able to do through the Pilliga, means we can maximise efficiencies in terms of the environmental and geotechnical investigations we carry out at each site, establishing one site compound instead of two and savings in terms of construction time and traffic control,” she said.

“With all eight overtaking lanes now completed, road users have an extra 12 kilometres of overtaking opportunities between Coonabarabran and Narrabri.”

The Newell Highway Program Alliance (NHPA) represented a $236.8 million investment in regional NSW by the Australian and NSW governments, with a focus on safety.

It was created in 2019 to deliver the 38 additional overtaking lanes in four years, instead of the likely eight years it would have taken to fund and deliver this work using traditional procurement methods.

As well as new overtaking lanes, the NHPA has also delivered six road safety improvements along sections of the highway including wider shoulders, centre lines and the installation of audio tactile line marking on the edges and centre of the highway.

When the final upgrade was announced in May, King said it would improve safety for freight transport operators and motorists.

“The Australian Government has been working with the New South Wales Government to deliver these overtaking lanes on the Newell Highway, delivering smoother and wider road surfaces for more efficient journeys along this key inland route,” she said.

“Our funding is key to ensuring the NSW road network is as safe and as efficient as possible.”

Now complete, the new overtaking lanes are expected to reduce travel times between the Victorian and Queensland borders by around 30 minutes.

In other news, construction is underway on the new 20-kilometre stretch of Pilliga Road between Pilliga and Wee Waa, New South Wales.

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