Another major milestone has been reached on the western section of the new Hunter Expressway, with construction workers having successfully removed one million cubic metres of earth – enough soil and rock to fill 400 Olympic swimming pools.
Federal Infrastructure and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese said in just six months more than a third of the required earthworks along the 27 kilometre section between Kurri Kurri and Branxton has been completed – an impressive performance and a tribute to the efforts of all those working on site.
“After years of talk and inaction, it’s now full steam ahead on what is the largest road project currently underway anywhere in NSW – and we remain committed to working with the NSW Government to get the job done as quickly a possible,” said Mr Albanese.
“Once completed in 2013, the new Expressway will slash travel times, deliver safer driving conditions and take up to 30,000 vehicles a day off the New England Highway and away from the towns of Thornton, Maitland and Rutherford.”
The new $1.65 billion Hunter Expressway is being jointly funded, with the Federal Government providing $1.45 billion and the NSW Government a further $200 million to complete the project.
Key features of the western section include:
- 27 kilometres of four lane divided road;
- Four interchanges (two full interchanges, two half interchanges);
- Five twin bridges on the new expressway;
- Eight bridges crossing the new expressway; and
- Heavy vehicle rest areas in both directions.
NSW Roads Minister Duncan Gay said the latest milestone was yet another step towards turning a vision into a reality.
“The project team has been busy working on this section, with clearing now 90 per cent complete and drainage installation well underway,” Mr Gay said.
“We continue to push ahead with work and in the coming months work will start on the bridges over the railway line at Branxton, mine void work will start in the Kurri Kurri area and clearing of the route is expected to be completed.
“At the peak of construction, the Hunter Expressway project is expected to generate around 1,200 jobs.”