Federal Government keeps New South Wales moving
14th May 2002
The Federal Government will spend $579.1 million in 2002-03 on New South Wales roads, an increase of $18 million over the 2001-02 allocation, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Transport and Regional Services, John Anderson, said today.
"Federal funding is going to the largest rural road project in Australia, the Yelgun to Chinderah realignment of the Pacific Highway south of Tweed Heads, widening the F3, and the construction of the Western Sydney Orbital," Mr Anderson said.
"We have also focused on implementing the commitments in Keeping Australia Moving, including the extension of the vital Black Spot Programme.
Building the Western Sydney Orbital
"The largest single outlay in the Federal roads budget for New South Wales is $60.9 million for the construction of the Western Sydney Orbital. The Government's total commitment to the $1.25 billion freeway is $356 million. The remainder will be provided by the private sector.
"Meanwhile, independent consultants have begun a study into the options for a link road from the end of the WSO at the M2 to a point on the F3. The Federal Government has no preferred option and wants all the possibilities explored.
Widening the F3 to six lanes
"In 2002-03, the Federal Government will spend $18.5 million of the $86 million we have committed to fast-track the widening of the F3 to six lanes between the Hawkesbury River and Calga. Construction will commence in mid-2002.
"The F3 is one of the busiest National Highway corridors, carrying more than 60,000 vehicles daily. Travel delays due to congestion and crashes are common. The additional funding will provide a consistent three-lane travelling environment in each direction.
"Stage 1 is expected to be completed in approximately six months. Stage 2, which includes the 8 kilometre section from north of Jolls Bridge to Mt White, is expected to start next year. An electronic traffic management system involving video cameras and variable message boards is being used as an interim measure.
Upgrading the Pacific Highway
"The $2.2 billion Pacific Highway Upgrading Programme, which is funded jointly with New South Wales, is the largest post-war infrastructure project since the Snowy Mountains Scheme. The Federal Government will spend $43 million on the programme in 2002-03, including:
Great Western Highway
"The Federal Government will spend $40 million in 2002-03 on upgrading the Great Western Highway through the Blue Mountains. Most of these funds will be spent on the construction of a major realignment of Shell Corner near Katoomba, replacement and realignment of the Medlow Bath bridge, and further highway widening at Linden.
Completing the Summerland Way
"The Government continues to fulfil its commitment to the Summerland Way between Grafton and Woodenbong, with $4.5 million allocated to further work in 2002-03. Most of this funding will be used to realign the Summerland Way at Dourrigan's Gap north of Kyogle.
Building the Albury-Wodonga bypass
"The 2002-03 Budget includes $6.1 million for an external bypass of Albury-Wodonga. An environmental report on the New South Wales section should be completed by March 2003, allowing the precise route to be known by October 2003. Construction should begin early in 2004.
"The bypass will become the National Highway route, replacing the existing Hume Highway corridor through town. The Kaitlers Road intersection at Laverton will be improved in 2002-03 at a cost of $2 million.
"The Federal Government has agreed to contribute $70 million to the cost of a new internal arterial road and a second Murray River crossing to further the development of Albury-Wodonga. We have sought matching contributions from Victoria and New South Wales; the Victorian Government has offered $30 million.
"The New South Wales Government has yet to agree to provide funds for this important project. We will continue to press the NSW Government to meet its obligations to the people of Albury-Wodonga.
"The Federal Government will spend $2 million in 2002-03 to complete preparations for the Moree bypass, and a further $25.8 million in 2003-04 and 2004-05, mainly on construction. Construction of the bypass along the Gosport Street corridor is expected to be completed in 2005.
"The Government has confirmed its election commitment to contribute $12 million toward the cost of building the Alstonville bypass, provided the New South Wales Government commits funds to the project. The Federal Government funds will be available from 2002-03.
"The Federal Government has confirmed its offer of $2 million toward the cost of building a heavy vehicle bypass around the Queanbeyan central business district. This funding will be contributed in 2004-05, once the ACT and New South Wales Governments have confirmed their participation, obtained environmental approvals and finished planning the project.
"The Commonwealth will direct its $2 million share of the project to the ACT Government, because most of the bypass will need to be built within the Territory.
Keeping our promise on Bucketts Way
"The 2002-03 Budget confirms our promise to contribute $20 million towards the cost of upgrading Bucketts Way, the 158 kilometre road that connects Raymond Terrace, north of Newcastle, with Gloucester, Wingham and Taree. The funding will help upgrade the route to an acceptable standard.
"The federal funds will start to flow from 2003-04, but arrangements for delivering the federal commitment will first need to be settled with the New South Wales Government and the local councils involved.
Dixons-Long Point Road
"The Federal Government will contribute $3 million, starting in 2003-04, toward the cost of building a new bridge over the Macquarie River along the Dixons-Long Point Road. The road links Orange and Mudgee, and a new bridge would improve its reliability in wet weather.
Murray River bridges
"The Federal Government has committed $44 million to assist the New South Wales and Victorian Governments construct new bridges over the Murray River at Corowa ($12 million), Echuca ($15 million) and Robinvale ($17 million). $36 million dollars is on offer in 2002-03.
"I want to stress that these figures represent the limit of the Federal Government's contribution, given that the bridges are wholly the responsibility of New South Wales and Victoria. We are in a position to provide funds to both state governments for work to proceed, as soon as they sign the necessary Deeds of Grant. All three projects are moving through the pre-construction and design phases.
"Unless the two state governments get moving on the bridges, we may have to spend the available funds elsewhere. My message to Carl Scully and Peter Batchelor is simple: use the money or lose it.
"Local roads in New South Wales will receive $184.7 million in 2002-03 from the Roads to Recovery Programme and untied Local Road Grants. The $1.2 billion Roads to Recovery Programme is the largest funding injection into local roads by any Federal Government.
"The Budget confirms my election promise to contribute $300,000 toward the $896,000 cost of upgrading Six Mile Lane and Aerodrome Road in Grafton, to improve access to the city's airport. The funding will be available in 2003-04.
Saving lives with the Black Spot Programme
"The Government has kept its election commitment to continue the Black Spot Programme, which provides funding to improve dangerous locations on Australia's roads. The programme is estimated to have prevented more than 1,500 serious crashes during its first three years of operation. We will spend $180 million nationally on the programme over the next four years.
"New South Wales will receive $14.3 million in 2002-03 under the Black Spot Programme, which will undoubtedly save lives," Mr Anderson said.
"The Federal Government will provide $500,000 in 2002-03 to strengthen the Paddys River bridge on the Hume Highway, which is the last impediment to opening the Sydney-Melbourne route for higher mass vehicles.
"Similarly, the Government will spend $6.8 million in 2002-03 to upgrade bridges on the Newell Highway to accept higher mass limit vehicles.
"We will provide $4 million nationally in 2002-03 to continue a bridge strengthening programme to open up key regional freight routes for heavy vehicles off the National Highway and Roads of National Importance.
"Unfortunately, the NSW Government does not rank bridge upgrading as a high priority, and is not participating in the programme at this stage," Mr Anderson said.
Media contact: Paul Chamberlin 02 62777680
BACKGROUND BRIEFING - 2002-03 ROADS PROGRAMME - NEW SOUTH WALES
The Federal Government will spend $43.0 million in 2002-03 on a shared basis with New South Wales on the Pacific Highway Upgrade Programme. The Programme includes:
Karuah bypass - The Federal Government has agreed to fund half the cost of the Pacific Highway upgrading at Karuah.
A design, construction and maintain contract has been awarded to Thiess Pty Ltd. A start on construction is imminent.
Bundacree Creek to Possum Brush - This is the section of Pacific Highway around Nabiac, south of Taree. The preferred upgrading option follows the course of the current highway, but with minor deviations that take account of community suggestions.
When completed, continuous freeway conditions will extend more than 50 kilometres from the end of the Bulahdelah-Coolonglook deviation to north of Taree, linking to other new work started recently between Taree and Coopernook.
Taree to Coopernook -It is proposed to upgrade to four lanes the existing highway over Jones Island between the Taree bypass and the (State-funded) Coopernook bypass at a cost of $59 million.
The proposed new alignment will follow the existing highway, but eliminate dips and curves. Construction will be staged over several years from 2002.
Brunswick Heads to Yelgun - A second carriageway will be built on the western side of the existing Brunswick Heads bypass, connecting to new bridges carrying a four-lane road across the Brunswick River and extending to Yelgun, the southern extremity of the Yelgun-Chinderah project.
Yelgun to Chinderah - The $350 million Yelgun-Chinderah project is the most expensive project in the joint Pacific Highway upgrading programme and the largest road project underway in regional Australia. When it opens to traffic by September 2002, it is expected to cut 17 minutes from the existing highway journey.
The 28.5 kilometre alignment bypasses the crash-prone Burringbar Range along a new corridor 15 kilometres shorter than the current route.
The Federal Government will contribute $12 million towards the construction of a bypass around Alstonville, provided the NSW Government commits funds to the project. The Federal funds will be available from 2002-03.
Alstonville, a hinterland village on the Bruxner Highway between Ballina and Lismore, must cope with more than 13,000 vehicles passing through its main street every day.
The Federal Government will contribute $20 million towards the cost of upgrading the Bucketts Way, the 158 kilometre road that connects Raymond Terrace, north of Newcastle, with Gloucester, Wingham and Taree. This will help upgrade the route to an acceptable standard. Additional sums will be required from the State Government.
Dixons-Long Point Road
The Federal Government will contribute $3 million toward the construction of a new bridge over the Macquarie River along the Dixons-Long Point Road linking Orange and Mudgee.
Currently, the route includes about 65 kilometres of unsealed road and a major crossing of the Macquarie River that is only passable by four-wheel drive vehicles at times of low rainfall.
The Government will seek additional funding from state and local government to allow the project to proceed.
Grafton Airport access
Access to Grafton Airport will be improved following a Federal Government offer to contribute $300,000 toward the cost of upgrading Six Mile Lane and Aerodrome Road. Overall, the upgrade is expected to cost $896,000. Additional funds will be required from State and local government.
Great Western Highway
In September 1998, the Prime Minister, John Howard, announced plans to spend $100 million to accelerate the upgrading of the Great Western Highway.
The upgrade is expected to deliver motorists four lanes from Penrith to Katoomba by 2008 and a mostly three-lane route from Katoomba to Mount Victoria. The federally-funded projects include major realignments at Shell Corner and Soldiers Pinch, replacement and realignment of the Medlow Bath bridge, and further upgrading at Linden Bends.
The Federal Government has also agreed jointly to fund the widening of the Great Western Highway to four-lane divided highway standard between Falls Road and West Street at Wentworth Falls. Environmental assessments and community consultation are under way.
Shell Corner - The preferred option for eliminating the Shell Corner black spot on the Great Western Highway at Katoomba involves a new road close to the railway electricity substation and passing beneath the present Shell Corner. A 1.2 kilometre section of road between Mort Street and Nellies Glen Road, Katoomba, is being upgraded at a cost of $34.7 million.
Medlow Bath - Tenders have been called for the construction of a new four-lane bridge and approaches over the railway line west of the existing bridge at Medlow Bath.
Soldiers Pinch - Construction of the $24 million Soldiers Pinch deviation at Mount Victoria is nearing completion. Reconstruction over two kilometres involves straightening the alignment between the Mt Boyce Weigh Station and Browntown Oval.
Traffic was switched to the new eastbound lanes in late March ahead of completion due in June. The project provides a much improved alignment, as well as an eastbound climbing lane.
Linden Bends - Work is proceeding on widening and straightening the Great Western Highway to four lanes over a distance of approximately three kilometres at Linden Bends. The $25.9 million project is proceeding in three stages. Construction is likely to finish in the second half of 2003.
Main Road 92
Construction of a 55 kilometre sealed highway link between Nowra and Nerriga in southeast New South Wales is being undertaken at a shared cost of $80 million. The federal and State governments are contributing $34 million each and the Shoalhaven City Council a further $12 million.
Work has started on the new Main Road 92 alignment from the intersection of Albatross Road and Braidwood Road to Hames Road, near Nowra. The next stage will run from Nowra to Nerriga, largely following existing unsealed roads.
The Federal Government will spend $2.3 million on the project in 2002-03.
North Kiama bypass
The Federal Government has agreed to provide $34 million, approximately one quarter of the $135 million total cost, toward the construction of a 7.6 kilometre North Kiama bypass.
The North Kiama bypass will improve road safety and travel times significantly, particularly in peak holiday periods.
Construction has started, with the letting of a contract for the bridge over the Terragong Swamp and Minnamurra floodplain, estimated to cost $36 million.
Concept planning is advanced for the rest of the four-lane road, along a new alignment between Swamp Road and Bombo station, bypassing the suburbs of Kiama Downs, Gainsborough and Minnamurra.
The Federal Government has offered $2 million toward the estimated $6 million cost of building a heavy vehicle bypass around the Queanbeyan central business district. The remainder will need to come from the NSW and ACT Governments.
The bypass will link East Queanbeyan with Canberra Avenue via The Oaks Estate in the ACT. It will divert up to 45 per cent of heavy vehicles using Monaro Street, Queanbeyan's main thoroughfare.
In 1996, the Federal Government committed $20 million toward upgrading the Summerland Way as a Road of National Importance.
A $7 million contract to realign the Summerland Way at Dourrigan's Gap, approximately 16 km north of Kyogle, has been awarded to the NSW Roads and Traffic Authority. Work started in February 2002 and will take approximately 12 months to complete. The 1.2 km realignment along a poor section of the Summerland Way through hilly terrain is the largest of nine projects the Federal Government has funded along the way.
Sydney urban link
Improved Cumberland Highway traffic flow - The Federal Government is funding a series of intersection improvements to reduce congestion at some of the worst traffic bottlenecks in Sydney's west and southwest. The objective is to ensure the Cumberland Highway serves Sydney's National Highway transport needs until the new Western Sydney Orbital opens.
Western Sydney Orbital
The Western Sydney Orbital will provide a new 40 kilometre road from the M5 Motorway at Prestons, near Liverpool, to the M2 Motorway at West Baulkham Hills.
Construction proposals are being assessed. Work is expected to start late in 2002, and the new link is due to open to traffic in 2007.
On current estimates, the Western Sydney Orbital will cost $1.25 billion. It is Australia's biggest urban road project. Expressions of interest have been sought from companies wishing to finance, design, construct, maintain and operate the Western Sydney Orbital.
The Federal Government is contributing $356 million for the project over six years ($60.9 million in 2002-03), with the remainder of the funding to come from the private sector, financed by a road user toll.
North-West Sydney connector
The Government has committed $2.8 million to investigate and plan a long-term route for the National Highway between the proposed Western Sydney Orbital and the F3 freeway north of Sydney.
Sinclair Knight Merz has been selected to conduct the study, including the public consultation phase, which is expected to be completed in late 2002.
The Federal Government aims to commence construction on whatever route is selected in 2007, to coincide with the completion of the Western Sydney Orbital.
Mittagong bypass bridges - Construction of new twin bridges along the Hume Highway bypass of Mittagong commenced early in 2002. The 120 metre bridges are being built by Abigroup Contractors as part of the upgrading of the route, which is required to address geological changes that have damaged the road surface.
Both bridges are expected to be completed and available to traffic in the first half of 2003.
The Federal Government will fully fund this National Highway improvement project, which is costing $31.0 million.
Tarcutta truck changeover facility - Regulations require truck drivers to stop for 30 minutes every five hours. Because Tarcutta is around five hours from both Sydney and Melbourne, it is a popular stopover point.
The Government and the NSW Roads and Traffic Authority are examining initial registrations of interest from the private sector for the development of an integrated facility in the Tarcutta area.
Southern Hume Highway planning - The Federal Government decided in 2001-02 to fund further investigation of the needs of the Hume Highway corridor south of the Sturt highway junction. The study will consider the traffic and safety needs of this section of the Highway. $100,000 for this work is available in 2002-03.
Crash site targeted - The Federal Government is undertaking improvements to the intersection of the Hume Highway and Kaitlers Road at Lavington (Albury), which claimed the life of a well-known local youth in 2000 and a 36-year-old woman in March 2002.
Following the first fatality, the Government sought an urgent report into the condition of the intersection. Short-term and long-term solutions for improving the intersection were devised. An initial $35,000 was allocated to carry out adjustments to the traffic islands and linemarking. This helped overcome the problem of motorists misjudging the timing or distance they needed to cross the highway.
In addition, funds were allocated from the National Highway Safety and Urgent Minor Works Programme to plan an intersection reconstruction. Planning is being fast tracked with the aim of commencing construction as early as late May.
The installation of traffic signals and pavement adjustments is estimated to cost around $3 million.
Albury-Wodonga bypass - An external bypass of Albury-Wodonga has been determined as the future route of the National Highway. At the same time, the Federal Government has decided to contribute to an internal boulevard and another river crossing between both centres. It will be funded jointly with the States, but does not form part of the National Highway.
The National Highway bypass will be built in stages to freeway standard and funded fully by the Federal Government.
The design of the internal arterial road will be a matter for the Albury and Wodonga councils and the two state governments. Federal funding will be capped at $70 million. The Victorian State Government will contribute a further $30 million. The New South Wales Government has so far refused to make a contribution.
The existing National Highway through Albury-Wodonga has become an interim National Highway corridor, to be funded for maintenance and safety improvements only.
The external bypass receives $6.1 million in the 2002-03 Federal Budget.
Indicative timetable for the Albury-Wodonga bypass
F3 widening - The Federal Government will provide $86 million to fast-track widening of the F3 freeway to six lanes between the Hawkesbury River and Calga on the New South Wales Central Coast. Construction of the first stage, involving two extra lanes built in the median between Mt White and the Calga interchange, is expected to start in July and be completed by Christmas 2002. Stage 2, involving an 8 kilometre section from north of Jolls Bridge to Mt White, is planned to commence next year.
To minimise intrusion into neighbouring bushland, the work will be conducted predominantly within the existing road reserve and along the present alignment. The F3 between Sydney and Gosford is one of the busiest National Highway corridors, carrying more than 60,000 vehicles daily.
F3 to Branxton - The New England Highway through the Lower Hunter Valley is becoming increasingly congested.
To date, the Federal Government has spent more than $4 million on planning a new link, which is estimated to cost more than $335 million.
The planning and design of the project is expected to take another 2-3 years.
Pending decisions on future development, the needs of New England Highway motorists in the Hunter region have been addressed through a $62 million federally-funded extension of the F3 adjacent to Leneghans Drive, the construction of a flyover at the John Renshaw Drive intersection, and traffic lights at the Weakleys Drive intersection.
Muswellbrook bypass - An investigation of options for a future bypass of Muswellbrook is underway. A further $100,000 is being provided in 2002-03 to continue studies and planning.
Better traffic conditions at Murrurundi and Scone - The Federal Government wants to reduce the conflict between local and highway traffic through Murrurundi and Scone in the upper Hunter Valley. It has set aside $400,000 for work to proceed into 2002-03.
Initially, the focus will be on reducing speeding by highway traffic and improving conditions for pedestrians.
Upper Hunter bridges - In the Upper Hunter, a new $2 million bridge has been built over Campbells Creek, 38.5 kilometres north of Scone. Meanwhile, two intersections through town - at White Street and Timor Road - have been improved and made safer at a combined cost of $500,000.
Two new bridges on the New England Highway near Singleton and at Blandford will be upgraded at a cost of $3.8 million to the National Highway Programme.
Further north, the Government will allocate $900,000, starting in 2002-03, to upgrade the Colly Creek crossing, two kilometres north of Willow Tree.
The new, wider bridge will improve safety for local motorists and their families, particularly when heavy vehicles cross the bridge.
Duval Creek bridge - Planning is under way for a new bridge to replace the narrow, speed-restricted bridge over Duval Creek, 13 kilometres north of Armidale.
The new Duval Creek bridge and approaches is likely to cost $7.7 million, with up to $870,000 being approved for planning and design work.
Devils Pinch realignment - Plans for the preferred route for the New England Highway realignment at Devils Pinch went on display during May and June 2001 so the public could provide comments to the consulting engineers. A representations report is being finalised following an environmental impact statement.
The preferred option is based on both the public comments and the results of engineering and environmental investigations. Planning approval will be sought ahead of construction starting in 2002-03.
Rangoon rehabilitation - A $3.2 million contract has been awarded for roadworks on the New England Highway at Rangoon, 28 kilometres south of Glen Innes. Ridge Consolidated will reconstruct and widen the highway over three kilometres. The entire project is expected to be completed by December 2002.
Tenterfield bridges - The Tenterfield and Groombridges creek bridges on the southern approaches to Tenterfield are being replaced. Construction commenced in April 2002. The new bridges are expected to open in January 2003.
Tenterfield main street upgrade - The Federal Government is spending $900,000 to upgrade Rouse Street, the New England Highway through Tenterfield, to improve safety for townspeople and highway users.
The work involves right-turn bays at major intersections to end stop-start traffic flow along Rouse Street, and extended footpath blisters.
Intersection upgrade for West Wyalong bypass - The Federal Government will make it easier for trucks to use Showground and Railway Roads as the heavy vehicle bypass of West Wyalong. All heavy vehicles using the Newell Highway must use the bypass route, avoiding the narrow and winding main street. A sum of $20,000 has been provided to plan improvements that will allow larger trucks, such as B-doubles, to turn more easily from the highway.
North of Parkes realignment - Investigations have begun into the future route of the Newell Highway between Bogan and Coobang, 3.6 kilometres to 13 kilometres north of Parkes. The existing highway at this location has a poor roughness rating and contains curves and dips that hinder safe overtaking.
Preliminary investigations of five route options have been explored. These range from upgrading the existing highway to building on a new alignment at a cost of up to $35 million.
Dubbo region overtaking lanes -Two additional overtaking lanes are being provided at Yarabah, 10 kilometres south of Dubbo, while another four will be installed between Dubbo and Gilgandra. Highway traffic lanes and road shoulders are being widened in conjunction with construction of the two Yarrabah passing lanes. The total cost is $9 million over two years.
Troy bridge - The existing steel truss Troy Bridge, 8 kilometres north of Dubbo, was strengthened to take higher mass vehicles pending construction of a new Troy Bridge over the Talbragar River. Work on the $7 million replacement is nearing completion.
This project is significant, as it achieves the next step in allowing access into Dubbo for higher mass freight vehicles from the north. Two other bridges are also earmarked for replacement as part of the federally-funded bridge strengthening programme for the Newell Highway.
Warrumbungles passing lanes - The Government has approved $5.6 million to meet the cost of three additional passing lanes southbound between 44 kilometres and 78 kilometres north of Gilgandra. They will supplement three existing overtaking lanes northbound.
Coonabarabran bypass - The Newell Highway passes through the centre of Coonabarabran, 350 kilometres northwest of Sydney, causing conflict with local traffic, community severance and safety concerns.
A route selection process for a potential Newell Highway bypass of Coonabarabran is being conducted. Feedback from community consultation will be used to finalise a preferred corridor before environmental assessments can proceed. A construction timeframe has not been established.
Tycannah Creek upgrading - At the Tycannah Creek causeways, south of Moree, water crosses the road regularly, disrupting traffic about every six months. The road is being rebuilt and additional drainage provided at a total cost of $4.8 million.
Moree bypass - Moree is a rail freight consolidation centre and 'inland port' on the interstate National Highway network.
The Government is funding a $30 million bypass - the Gosport Street option - that will reduce the number of articulated heavy vehicles in the central business district by 91 per cent.
Highway design concepts are being developed with community input. An environmental impact assessment of the proposed design is close to being finalised and will be exhibited publicly in June 2002.
Approval for the project is expected by early 2003. This will allow tenders for the first construction contract - a bridge over the Mehi River - to be called by June 2003. Construction of the bypass is expected to be completed in 2005.
Local roads in New South Wales will receive $184.7 million in 2002-03 from the Roads to Recovery Programme and untied Local Road Grants.
The $1.2 billion Roads to Recovery Programme is the largest funding injection into local roads by any Federal Government.
Black Spot Programme
The Government has kept its election commitment to continue the Black Spot Programme, which provides funding to improve dangerous locations on Australia's roads.
New South Wales will receive $14.3 million in 2002-03 under the Black Spot Programme.