Aug 11, 2010

Work starts on Hunter Expressway

Work starts on Hunter Expressway

The Hon Anthony Albanese MP

The Minister for Infrastructure, Transport

Regional Development and Local Government

Leader of the House

Member for Grayndler

August 11 2010

The start of major construction work on the new Hunter Expressway is the culmination of the community’s twenty year campaign for better road infrastructure to support the Hunter’s continued growth, not just for the next three years but for the next three decades.

Infrastructure and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese was today joined by Premier Kristina Keneally, Federal Labor Member for Hunter, Joel Fitzgibbon and State Member for Cessnock, Kerry Hickey, to turn the first sod on this new road.

“After 18 months of detailed planning, geotechnical investigations and site preparations it’s now full steam ahead with delivering this long awaited new piece of infrastructure,” said Mr Albanese.

“First mooted in 1988, it’s taken a partnership between Federal Labor and State Labor to complete the necessary planning, secure the finances and begin building this road,” said Anthony Albanese.

“Once completed in 2013, 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.

“This project is part of the unprecedented investment we’ve made in the Hunter over the last three years which also includes the most extensive upgrade of the region’s rail network in generations.”

The new Hunter Expressway will be a 40 kilometre dual carriageway connecting the F3 to the New England Highway and include interchanges at Buchanan, Kurri Kurri, Loxford, Allendale and Branxton.

Its construction is a jointly funded project with $1.45 billion coming from the Federal Government and a further $200 million from the NSW Government.

Ms Keneally said the start of major construction was not only a victory for the local community but would also have significant economic benefits for the region both immediate and longer term.

“Indeed in the short term the delivery of this new Expressway will support over 800 construction jobs and a further 2,400 indirect jobs, underpinning the economic prosperity of the Hunter,” said Ms Keneally.

“This road project – the biggest currently underway anywhere in NSW – is a great example of the Gillard and Keneally Labor governments working together to build the infrastructure our State needs.

“When finished in three years time, the new Expressway will slash travel times and deliver safer driving conditions as well as provide a better link to the Hunter’s ever-popular wineries.

Today’s sod turning took place at the site of the planned Buchanan Interchange and where in coming months the first stages of the new Expressway will take shape.

Federal Labor Member for the Hunter, Joel Fitzgibbon, said the new road will better support the region’s rapidly growing population and industries.

“For many years now the construction of this road has been our region’s number one infrastructure priority,” said Mr Fitzgibbon.

“That’s why I’m particularly proud to be part of a Government which has stepped up to the mark and provide the funding necessary to get it built, yet further proof only Labor has the vision to build the modern, well planned infrastructure our community expects and our economy needs.

“What’s more, funding for this project was provided as part of our recession-busting, job-creating Economic Stimulus Plan, the very initiative the Federal Coalition voted against early last year and have consistently opposed ever since.

“In fact if Bob Baldwin and his Liberal and National Party colleagues had had their way today’s celebrations would still be many years away.”

Mr Hickey said the residents and businesses of his Cessnock electorate will welcome the reduction in traffic congestion along the New England Highway that this project will deliver.

“This is a big win for Cessnock and a great day for the Hunter,” said Mr Hickey.

The new Hunter Expressway will be delivered via two contracts:

  • The 13 kilometre eastern section (F3 Freeway to Kurri Kurri) will be built under an alliance formed between the RTA, Thiess, Parsons Brinckerhoff and Hyder Consulting; and
  • The 27 kilometre western section (Kurri Kurri to Branxton) will be built under a design and construct contract, with the successful builder to be announced later this year and work to start in early 2011.