The foundations have been laid for transformative works – an extension of the M1 Pacific Motorway.
The scope of works include upgrades to the surrounding network such as the Hexham Straight widening.
The Federal Government is committing $1.68 billion and the NSW Government committing $420 million to this project.
It will feature a 15-kilometre extension of the motorway, removing five sets of traffic lights and cutting nine minutes from travel times during peak periods.
It will also deliver a 2.6-kilometre viaduct over the Hunter River and floodplain, the Main North Rail Line and the New England Highway.
There will also be new bridge crossings over local waterways at Tarro and Raymond Terrace, and an overpass for Masonite Road at Heatherbrae.
This is one of two remaining locations on the east coast corridor where the route is an urban road with traffic lights – the other being at Coffs Harbour, where work is also well underway on a new bypass which is due to be completed in late 2027.
“It’s so exciting to stand alongside the NSW Government and see shovels in the ground for a project which will be a huge benefit to travellers and truck drivers, but also to Hunter Valley families,” said Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese.
This upgrade is expected to ensure quicker travel times between Sydney and Brisbane as well as safer travel for families and workers who use this route going up and down the east coast.”
NSW Premier, Chris Minns, said the NSW Government is proud to partner with the Commonwealth to deliver vital infrastructure which will improve reliability and efficiency for road users.
“Not only will this provide smoother journeys for drivers in the area, but it will also boost economic activity and provide local jobs,” he said.
Federal Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government Minister, Catherine King, said this project and the Coffs Harbour bypass will provide the remaining major upgrades to complete a free-flowing dual carriageway route between Sydney and Brisbane.
“The M1 extension will create more efficient and reliable journeys by bypassing five sets of traffic lights, saving nine minutes in travel time and removing about 25,000 vehicles a day from key congestion and merge points between Newcastle and Maitland,” she said.
“I’m delighted that both the Australian and NSW governments are working together to complete the job so locals across the Hunter can see an end to the traffic chaos and daily delays.”