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AusLink Delivers $4.88 billion for New South Wales

Minister for Transport and Regional Services - Warren Truss
003TRS/Budget 9 May 2006

The Australian Government has increased to $4884.9 million its total land transport funding to New South Wales over the first five years of AusLink, the National Land Transport Plan. This includes an additional $960.0 million to accelerate progress on key infrastructure projects on the AusLink National Network.

Of the $4.88 billion, $2.97 billion is directed to major land transport construction projects - an increase of 171.2 per cent compared with the preceding five years. The remainder is for AusLink Network maintenance, local road upgrades, elimination of crash 'black spots' and research and development.

Tonight, the Australian Government is providing an additional $800.0 million to New South Wales in 2005-06 to dramatically increase the pace of converting the Hume Highway in southern New South Wales to four lanes by 2012.

The Australian Government will also be providing an additional $34.1 million to the Hume Highway from 2006-07 to 2008-09, bringing the total Australian Government investment in the Hume Highway in New South Wales over the four financial years 2004-05 to 2008-09 to $1398.3 million. This capital injection means that approximately 20 km of the highway will remain as two lane road by the end of 2009.

The Australian Government is also providing an additional $160.0 million in 2005-06 for the Pacific Highway, on the basis that this money will be matched by the New South Wales Government. This will bring to $1.3 billion the total value of the new joint investment programme with New South Wales for the Highway until 2009.

AusLink will deliver $875.1 million to New South Wales for spending on land transport infrastructure in 2006-07.

2006-07 funding under the AusLink Investment Programme

The Australian Government will spend $595.6 million in 2006-07 on AusLink Investment Programme projects in New South Wales, including:

  • Pacific Highway funding of $143.9 million, which will progress the Bonville deviation, Karuah to Bulahdelah stages 2 and 3, and bypasses of Ballina and Bulahdelah. (See separate media release.)
  • Hume Highway funding of $192.0 million, including $135.0 million for work on the New South Wales component of the Hume Highway upgrade at Albury Wodonga, $25.0 million for the commencement of construction of the Coolac bypass, and $10.0 million for northbound widening of the F5 between Brooks Road and the junction with the M7 near Campbelltown. (The Hume Highway works are detailed in a separate media release.)
  • Acceleration of the F3 widening to six lanes to complete the widening three years ahead of schedule, with $40.0 million in 2006-07.
  • $10.0 million to allow a start on construction of the Weakleys Drive interchange in the Lower Hunter Valley.
  • The AusLink network in New South Wales receives $108.2 million for maintenance funding 2006-07.

The Australian Government and the Australian Rail Track Corporation will also invest heavily in the North-South rail corridor, where transit times will be cut.

The Australian Government Minister for Transport and Regional Services, Warren Truss, and the Minister for Local Government, Territories and Roads, Jim Lloyd, outlined the comprehensive AusLink Budget funding package for New South Wales today.

"The Budget recognises the key linkages of the New South Wales roads and railways to the national transport network and builds to strengthen those links for connectivity and growth," Mr Truss said.

Mr Lloyd said the additional funding provided for the Hume and Pacific highways demonstrated the Australian Government commitment to the provision of 21st-century transport infrastructure under AusLink.

Higher Mass Limits

"Under the terms of the AusLink bilateral agreement, the Australian Government is providing New South Wales with up to $30.0 million to upgrade bridges on the AusLink National Network so they support higher mass limit vehicles. New South Wales will also extend implementation of the higher mass limits reform," Mr Lloyd said.

"Heavy vehicles with road friendly suspensions (such as air suspensions) are able to carry a heavier load, about 10 per cent higher depending on the type or combination of vehicle. These vehicles operate on a specified network of roads around Australia.

"In 2006-07, the Australian Government will provide New South Wales with $6.8 million to upgrade bridges on the AusLink Network, including the bridge at Paddys River on the Hume Highway. This will enable New South Wales to provide higher mass limits access from Melbourne to Sydney by the end of 2006, in accordance with the terms of its AusLink bilateral agreement with the Australian Government.

"The reform has the advantage of encouraging a move towards the latest technology vehicles, meaning safer and cleaner trucks, and enables the freight task to be performed with fewer trucks," he said.

Support for regional infrastructure in 2006-07

Mr Lloyd said AusLink's holistic approach to infrastructure funding rewarded land transport concepts that support growth of regional industries, respond to structural change and strengthen local economic opportunities.

The 2006-07 Budget includes:

  • a Tarcutta truck interchange facility;
  • further funding for the Moree bypass; and
  • continued funding for the upgrading of Main Road 92 between Nowra and Nerriga in Southern New South Wales.

Also funded by the Australian Government is a series of safety works on the Princes Highway south of Nowra and a replacement Pambula River bridge, jointly with the New South Wales Government. A South Batemans Bay bypass and the Watanobbi-Warnervale Link Road on the Central Coast are among other strategic regional projects the Government is supporting.

Investing in local roads in 2006-07

"Councils in New South Wales will receive a supplementary payment for improving the connectivity of local roads around the state, equivalent to an additional year of Roads to Recovery funding. The payment will be made in 2005-06 and councils can spend it immediately on projects they nominate," Mr Lloyd said.

"This extra one-off payment in 2005-06 represents a significant $85.6 million for local road improvements.

"The Australian Government will also invest an additional $265.2 million on New South Wales local roads during 2006-07. This includes $85.6 million from the AusLink Roads to Recovery Programme, $30.1 million from AusLink's Strategic Regional Programme and $149.5 million in untied Financial Assistance Grants (FAGs) for local roads.

"Councils are accountable to the Australian Government for spending the Roads to Recovery and FAGs, but may select projects according to local circumstances," Mr Lloyd said.

"The Australian Government will maintain funding for local roads at least until 2008-09. This will help address the backlog of local road works while also building the capability of regions."

Mr Lloyd said the Government wanted to enhance the ability of regional industries and communities to compete in the national and global economy, and to improve access to services.

"The Department of Transport and Regional Services is assessing applications from councils for unallocated funding under the AusLink Strategic Regional Programme. Successful applicants will be notified later in the year," he said.

Fixing black spot locations to save lives

The Australian Government is delivering on its commitment to extend the AusLink Black Spot Programme to 2007-08.

"The aim is to prevent an estimated 500 casualty crashes on Australia's roads in 2006-07," Mr Lloyd said.

"This programme is unique among the suite of government land transport investments in that it targets funding to the worst crash sites, usually for remedial treatments such as traffic signals, vehicle turning lanes, roundabouts and improved lighting," Mr Lloyd said.

"New South Wales will receive $14.3 million from the programme in 2006-07, which will be directed to fixing approximately 98 priority crash locations. For every dollar outlaid on black spot solutions, the community reaps a benefit estimated at $14," he said.

A detailed factsheet on the Australian Government's land transport projects in New South Wales is attached.

Media contacts:
Mr Truss' office - Kylie Butler 02 6277 7680 / 0417 652 488
Mr Lloyd's office - Fiona Telford 02 6277 7060 / 0407 908 504

AusLink Backgrounder - New South Wales


AUSLINK NATIONAL NETWORK PROJECTS

Sydney-Brisbane Corridor

The Australian Government's strategic priorities on this corridor are to develop a high performing efficient and safe coastal corridor that provides competitive freight services and safe and convenient passenger travel. It also wants to ensure the inland route is maintained as a viable and safe alternative route.

F3 Freeway widening

This project involves the widening of the F3 freeway to three lanes in each direction from Cowan to Mt Colah, at a total cost of $132.0 million. It was originally proposed that this section of the widening would be undertaken in two stages, but the Australian and New South Wales Governments have now agreed that this project should be delivered sooner, and have increased their joint funding to accelerate its completion.

The Australian Government share (80 per cent) is $105.8 million.

Preconstruction activities are under way, including the stripping of rock cuttings of loose material. It is expected that the project will be completed and opened to traffic by mid 2008. This project receives $40.0 million in 2006-07.

Mt White Heavy Vehicle Inspection Station

It is planned to locate a new Heavy Vehicle Inspection Station along the disused southbound carriageway of the F3, about 10.5 km to 12.2 km north of the Hawkesbury River. It will be used to conduct inspection checks, including log books, licence and registration management and monitoring of the mass and dimension of vehicles.
The Australian and New South Wales Governments have agreed to fund the facility jointly at a total cost of $7.3 million. The Australian Government pays out $1.65 million of its half share in 2006-07.

New England Highway Projects

F3 Freeway/New England Highway Link Road

The Australian and New South Wales Governments propose to build a new 39.5 km four lane highway from the F3 Sydney-Newcastle Freeway at Seahampton, west of Newcastle, to Branxton in the Lower Hunter Valley, bypassing congested sections of the New England Highway route around Maitland. It would shorten the current highway journey to Sydney by 10 km. Benefits to the Hunter Region include a safer and more efficient transport route.

The project is subject to a joint review by both governments to find the best way forward. The Australian Government remains committed to the project and is continuing to provide all necessary funding to complete the planning, pre-construction and utility relocations required.

The commitment is demonstrated by $10.0 million in 2006-07 to continue planning and preconstruction activities, which are expected to be completed around mid 2008.

Weakleys Drive

Traffic volumes through the Weakleys Drive and New England Highway intersection have increased to the extent that a full interchange is required to safely meet the traffic demand. A proposed new bridge will carry the New England Highway over the intersection of Weakleys Drive and a new road connecting to the Thornton-Beresfield link road. It will remove a number of traffic lights where significant traffic delays occur. Traffic lights will remain on Weakleys Drive to provide for safe crossing by pedestrians and cyclists, and to allow adoption of a design that minimises the impact on neighbouring properties.

$25.0 million has been allocated for this project, with $10.0 million to be provided in 2006-07.

Halcombe Hill

A safety audit conducted in 2003, following a number of serious accidents, recommended short term improvements to the New England Highway at Halcombe Hill, near Singleton. These have been implemented. The study also recommended investigation of a long term solution resulting in the realignment project now being built.

The upgrading and realignment of the highway at Halcombe Hill will start in mid 2006. Due to open in June 2007, the project involves a 1.2 km deviation and new bridge over the railway line. This will provide a gentler curve that can be negotiated safely by vehicles travelling at 100 kph.

The work is costing $19.6 million and receives $15.0 million in 2006-07.

Sunnyside upgrade

The New England Highway in the vicinity of Sunnyside Road, near Armidale, is of a lower standard than adjacent sections of highway, that were upgraded recently. Safety is compromised by poor sight distance at the intersection and tight horizontal alignment. Planning has commenced to improve road safety at this intersection. The project receives $650,000 in the 2006-07 budget.

Sydney Melbourne Corridor

The Australian Government's strategic priorities on this corridor are to improve performance, capacity and safety and to improve the efficiency of rail freight services.

F5 ramps at Campbelltown Road, Ingleburn

The Australian Government is contributing two-thirds of the estimated $13.7 million cost of additional ramps connecting the F5 to Campbelltown Road at Ingleburn. Campbelltown City Council is contributing the remaining one-third. Construction began in December 2005 and work is expected to finish in late 2006.

A northbound exit ramp will connect with Campbelltown Road north of the Campbelltown Road overbridge at Ingleburn, while a southbound entry ramp will be built from a roundabout at the intersection with Williamson Road. The two ramps will improve access to the Ingleburn industrial estate and reduce truck traffic further south on Campbelltown Road.

Widening the F5 at Ingleburn

The southbound lanes of the F5 have been widened from two to four lanes over a distance of five kilometres between Camden Valley Way and Brooks Road, Ingleburn to cater for increased traffic volumes from Westlink M7. That road opened on 16 December 2005. Work will proceed in 2006-07 on the complementary widening of the northbound lanes. The Australian Government contribution is expected to be $24.0 million, with the New South Wales Government funding the balance. The project will receive $10.0 million in 2006-07.

Upgrade at Towrang and Carrick roads

The Australian Government has agreed to spend $5.5 million on highway improvements that will make it easier for traffic from Towrang and Carrick roads north of Goulburn to turn onto the southbound lanes of the Hume Highway. The project involves widening the highway and installing traffic islands and southbound merge lanes to separate the fast moving through traffic on the highway from the slower turning traffic. Existing acceleration and deceleration lanes will be extended. Construction has been delayed by heritage considerations, but is expected to get under way in late 2006 and be completed in mid-2007. This project receives $4.9 million in 2006-07.

Coolac bypass

The Australian Government is funding a $145.0 million bypass of Coolac as part of a strategy to complete the Hume Highway duplication, initially as far as the Sturt Highway turnoff, but ultimately across the whole Sydney-Melbourne corridor, by 2012. New dual carriageways will be built over almost 12 km of the Hume Highway, while an adjacent four kilometre section of the northbound carriageway will be realigned. Construction has been delayed by heritage considerations. It is expected to get under way in November 2006 and be completed in November 2008. The project will receive $25.0 million in 2006-07.

Additional duplication projects

The Australian Government is making available $800.0 million for six additional duplication projects on the Hume Highway in Southern New South Wales. The accelerated works will start late in 2006 and be completed by the end of 2009, leaving only around 20 km of the highway still to be duplicated by 2012. (The Hume Highway works are detailed in a separate media release.)

West Street interchange, Gundagai

Construction of a 140 metre, single-lane flyover of the Hume Highway at West Street, North Gundagai is proceeding at a cost of $8.9 million. It is expected to be completed in December 2006. The flyover will improve highway safety and reduce the number of crashes associated with local traffic turning onto the highway in foggy conditions. The project will receive $4.5 million in 2006-07.

Duplicating the Sheahan Bridge

Construction of a second Sheahan Bridge at Gundagai is expected to commence in 2006-07 and be completed in 2008-09. A second 1.1 km two-lane bridge will be built beside the existing one. A sum of $5.0 million has been allocated in the 2006-07 Budget.

Tarcutta truck and trailer interchange facility

The Australian Government is contributing $3.0 million towards the cost of an in-town truck stop at Tarcutta. The New South Wales Government is meeting the remainder of the costs. Work is expected to start in mid-2006 and be completed in December 2006. The new facility will be located off Hay Street in the town's commercial centre and will have parking for about 40 prime movers and accompanying trailers. The project is funded $1.6 million in 2006-07.

Hume Highway planning and safety works, including Kyeamba Hill and Table Top Creek

The Australian Government has allocated $36.0 million ($5.6 million in 2006-07) on a package of safety works on the Hume Highway, including a minor realignment at Kyeamba Hills, south of Tarcutta. This project was completed in April 2006. Work on widening the bridge at Table Top Creek from two to three lanes began in April 2006 and is expected to be completed in September 2006. Other works include intersection upgrades at Mullengandra (completed), Woomargama, Ladysmith Road at Kyeamba and the Olympic Highway.

Albury Wodonga Hume Freeway upgrade

When the 17 km Hume Freeway upgrade through Albury Wodonga is completed around mid-2007, its design and operational standards will be comparable to any road in a major capital city. The $518.0 million project is a key component of AusLink. Construction began in May 2005 and is well under way.

The Hume Freeway at Albury Wodonga will carry an estimated 40,000 vehicles daily, including more than 6000 commercial vehicles. Depending on the time of day, it will cut up to 15 minutes off a Sydney-Melbourne journey and generate significant savings for interstate transport operators. It will bypass 17 sets of traffic lights and five right hand bends on the existing highway. It will also eliminate six railway level crossings on adjacent roads.

The project within New South Wales receives $135.0 million in 2006-07. The Government is funding work on the Victorian side of the border also.

Melbourne-Brisbane corridor

The Australian Government's strategic priority is to develop this corridor as a viable inland multi-modal corridor for long distance freight and passenger traffic. It serves the manufacturing, mining, rural industries and tourism sectors along the corridor. The Government is investigating the role of rail in improving freight efficiency on this and other east coast corridors through a North-South Rail Study. This study will inform the Melbourne-Brisbane corridor strategy, which is due for completion in November 2006.

Newell Highway projects

Bogan-Coobang

The $19.0 million, 7 km upgrade north of Parkes will bring this section of the highway to a standard consistent with the route south of town and around Dubbo, while also meeting several local strategic traffic objectives. The road will be widened, curves and crests eliminated and overtaking lanes installed. The project receives $8.0 million in 2006-07.

Trewilga planning

It is proposed to upgrade around 6 km of the Newell Highway at Trewilga, north of Parkes. The Australian Government had earmarked funding in 2008-09. However, planning will now commence in 2006.

The preliminary study will include a survey of the area, geotechnical and environmental investigations, concept designs and estimates of cost. The project receives $500,000 in 2006-07.

Wallumburrawang deviation

Construction has commenced and is expected to be completed by mid 2006 on the Wallumburrawang deviation. The $15.5 million project involves a 4.4 km long realignment of the Newell Highway between Gilgandra and Coonabarabran. A twin arch crossing of Wallumburrawang Creek will replace the existing narrow bridge. Northbound and southbound passing lanes will be provided to allow for safer overtaking. Rest areas on either side of the road will encourage drivers to take a break. Motorists will also be able to access the existing Hickeys Falls rest area adjacent to the creek. The project receives a final $1.0 million payment in 2006-07.

Tycannah Creek improvements

This project will overcome one of the North-West's most flood prone road locations, on the Newell Highway at Tycannah Creek, 18 km south of Moree.

Tycannah Creek floods the road about once a year on average and is very disruptive for the local community and for travel between Narrabri and Moree. The project involves highway realignment, construction of two new bridges and installation of additional box culverts. This will reduce the likelihood of the highway being cut due to flooding to once every 20 years.

The work is costing $16.2 million. The project receives $11.0 million in 2006-07.

Moree bypass

The Moree bypass will run along the western side of the railway south of the Mehi River and then to the east of the racecourse generally along Gwydirfield Road. It will include a four way signalised intersection with the Gwydir Highway, including an integrated railway level crossing, a new road bridge over the Mehi River, and a T-junction with the current Newell Highway.

A change of alignment to 1.2 km of the southern section was made to the original design to overcome access and future development issues for businesses on Gosport Street. However, some of the land to be acquired for the new alignment was found to be contaminated. This issue must be resolved before approval for construction can be given. It is expected that the final project cost will significantly exceed the earlier cost estimate of $35.0 million.

The project receives $10.0 million in 2006-07.

Sydney Urban Corridors

The Australian Government's strategic priorities on these corridors focus on the need to improve freight flows and reduce congestion for passengers and freight.

F3 to M2 link road

The link road from the F3 Freeway at Wahroonga to the M2 Motorway at the Pennant Hills Road interchange will complete the AusLink National Network through Sydney. The Government's preferred option involves an 8 km tunnel beneath Pennant Hills Road, and was the most favoured of the options displayed to the public. It will enable motorists to avoid 22 sets of traffic signals along the existing route. The new tunnel will provide a high standard route into Sydney from the north for the predicted large increase in commercial freight vehicles using the AusLink National Network.

The Australian Government has committed $29.5 million to the project, with $2.0 million in 2006-07 to fund planning and an Environmental Impact Statement.

Rail upgrading in Northern Sydney

The Australian Government will provide $1.0 million in 2006-07 (of a total commitment of $110.0 million) to improve rail infrastructure bottlenecks between Strathfield and Hornsby. The works will improve transit times for freight trains and will benefits passenger services too. Separating freight and passenger trains will enable CityRail to run more off-peak passenger services.

Canberra Connectors

Barton Highway

The Australian Government will allocate up to $20.0 million ($2.0 million in 2006-07) for project development for duplicating the Barton Highway between the ACT border and the northern end of the proposed Murrumbateman bypass. These funds will allow for the preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement and for acquisition of land along the corridor.

MAINTENANCE

Maintaining the condition of roads on the AusLink National Network addresses transport costs, efficiency and safety. The AusLink National Network in New South Wales receives $108.2 million in maintenance spending in 2006-07.

NON-NETWORK PROJECTS

Main Road 92 - Nowra to Nerriga

The Government will spend $20.0 million in 2006-07 on the upgrading of Main Road 92, a 59 km link between Nowra and Nerriga in south-east New South Wales. The Government has committed $34.0 million to the $80.0 million cost of the upgrade. Work is under way.

Bucketts Way

The Government will provide $4.8 million in 2006-07 to continue upgrading Bucketts Way, which runs from Raymond Terrace to Taree via Stroud and Gloucester. There are more than 30 projects scheduled over a four-year period. The majority of these projects are now finished or nearing completion. This funding will finalise the Government's $20.0 million commitment to Bucketts Way.