May 14, 2009

$1.65 billion Hunter Expressway to create jobs and ease traffic congestion

$1.65 billion Hunter Expressway to create jobs and ease traffic congestion


The Hon Anthony Albanese MP

The Minister for Infrastructure, Transport,

Regional Development and Local Government

Leader of the House

Member for Grayndler

May 14 2009

The Prime Minister and the Premier of NSW today welcomed the announcement of funding for the new $1.65 billion Hunter Expressway between the F3 and the New England Highway near Branxton.

The new 40 kilometre dual carriageway will:

  • cut travel times between Newcastle and the Hunter by 28 minutes;
  • relieve congestion between Newcastle and the towns of Thornton, Maitland, and Rutherford, with forecast reductions in traffic of 15,000 to 30,000 vehicles per day from their level of 60,000 vehicles now;
  • support the growing Hunter region, where traffic is forecast to grow around four per cent a year; and
  • meet the growing freight task of the region, which is forecast to increase 30 per cent in coming years.

Construction will occur between 2010 and 2013 and support up to 800 direct local jobs, boosting economic activity in the Hunter region during the global economic recession.

The Federal Government will invest $1.45 billion and the NSW Government will invest $200 million in this important project.

This is part of the Federal Government’s $22 billion infrastructure investment in the 2009-10 Budget, which includes transport, energy, broadband, universities, and health care.

The Prime Minister and Premier made the announcement at the turning of the first sod on the $134 million Minimbah Third Rail Track project, one of six projects delivered in the Hunter by the Australian Track and Rail Corporation as part of the Rudd Government’s December 2008 Nation Building statement.

The project is a 10.8km new rail track that will support up to 150 jobs during construction.

Together, the Hunter Valley Rail Network improvements will lift coal capacity from around 107 million tonnes per annum to 165 million tonnes per annum to meet rising demand.

The Australian Government’s nation-building initiatives include $11.6 billion in road and rail infrastructure in New South Wales.