With good progress being made on the new Hunter Expressway – the single biggest road construction project currently underway anywhere in NSW – the Gillard Labor Government has decided to bring forward $200 million in Federal funding to maintain the momentum.
Federal Infrastructure and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese said the early payment to the NSW Government is recognition of the tireless efforts from all those associated with building this new road, most notable the contractors and their workforces.
“After a little more than 12 months of construction this long awaited new piece of infrastructure is already beginning to take shape, with the entire $1.65 billion project on track to be completed within the next two years,” said Mr Albanese.
“First mooted in 1988, completion of the new Expressway will cut travel times between Newcastle and Branxton by half an hour and take up to 30,000 vehicles a day off the New England Highway and away from the towns of Thornton, Maitland and Rutherford.
“Importantly, this project is part of the unprecedented capital works program we’ve been rolling out across the Hunter which also includes the most extensive upgrade of the region’s rail network in generations.”
Once completed in 2013, the Hunter Expressway will be a 40 kilometre dual carriageway connecting the F3 to the New England Highway with interchanges at Buchanan, Kurri Kurri, Loxford, Allendale and Branxton.
Hunter MP Joel Fitzgibbon said the road being built will support the Region’s growth, not just for the next three years but for the next three decades.
“The pace on the project has been remarkable and I thank the contractors for their good work,” said Mr Fitzgibbon.
“The Hunter Expressway will resolve much of our local traffic congestion, improve road safety and relieve many residents of noise and pollution. It will also stimulate our local economy.”
Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan said the decision to bring forward funding underscores the urgency this Federal Labor Government has placed on tackling the infrastructure backlog we inherited.
“In the short term, the delivery of this nation building project is supporting activity and jobs in the non-residential construction sector which has been experiencing tough times in our patchwork economy,” said Mr Swan.