Mar 12, 2012

New England Highway: Planning money for upgrades approved

I have approved payment of the funds set aside in last year’s Federal Budget to undertake the necessary planning on a future Tenterfield bypass as well as upgrades to the New England Highway around Bolivia Hill, clearing the way for NSW Roads and Maritime Services to begin this work by the middle of the year.

Both projects were added to our Nation Building Program following strong representations from local MP Tony Windsor.  This Federal Labor Government is determined to plan for the future while at the same time respond to Australia’s more immediate infrastructure needs.

A bypass of Tenterfield has the potential to take 600 trucks a day off local streets with the planning work and associated community consultations aimed at identifying a preferred route, obtaining accurate costings and establishing a realistic construction timetable.

With respect to the New England Highway around Bolivia Hill, the planning work we’re commissioning will identify options for improving safety along this particularly notorious stretch of road.  Indeed, over the past decade it has been the scene of thirteen crashes, including four fatalities.

While the $6 million in planning money for both these projects is coming out of our existing six year Nation Building Program, funding for construction will need to be considered as part of future budgets once this work is completed.