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PRESSING AHEAD WITH THE PACIFIC AND HUME HIGHWAYS

   
8 May 2007 002TRS/Budget

The Australian Government will continue to invest in the Pacific and Hume highways in 2007-08, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Transport and Regional Services, Mark Vaile, and the Minister for Local Government, Territories and Roads, Jim Lloyd, said today.

The Government provided New South Wales with an advance payment of $160 million in June 2006 to help it press on with duplicating the Pacific Highway. The Government will also provide funding in 2007-08.

"There are now construction contracts in place to upgrade 74 kilometres of the highway. There has never been so much construction work on the Pacific Highway at the same time," Mr Vaile said.

"When the Coalition Government took office in 1996, only 65 kilometres, or 9 per cent, of the highway had four lanes. When the Brunswick Heads to Yelgun duplication opens in July, 262 kilometres, or 39.7 per cent, of the highway will have four lanes.

"The Government is also pressing ahead with duplicating the Hume Highway in southern New South Wales. The highway will receive $105.4 million in 2007-08, in addition to the $800 million advance payment that the Government provided New South Wales in June 2006," Mr Vaile said.

The funding for the Pacific and Hume highways are among the highlights of the Australian Government's $781.1 million investment in New South Wales roads and railways in 2007-08. The state will also receive a fair share of the $22.3 billion in new land transport funding that the Government announced today.

The new funding will run from 2009-10 to 2013-14. It will be available under AusLink 2, the second stage of the Government's national land transport plan.

"AusLink 2 will continue our massive investment in Australia's roads and railways. We will also be able to provide more money for local roads under the AusLink Roads to Recovery and AusLink Strategic Regional programmes. These programmes were due to end in June 2009; they will now continue until June 2014," Mr Vaile said.

"The Government has already announced that we will extend the Black Spot Programme under AusLink 2 until 2013-14 and increase its funding by 33 per cent. The Black Spot Programme funds safety works at dangerous locations on our roads.

"The Government will announce the details of the New South Wales funding under AusLink 2 in due course, following discussions with the state government.

"Meanwhile, we are continuing to fund critical land transport projects across the state under the existing AusLink programme, and are announcing today that we will spend an extra $250 million in 2006-07 on AusLink Strategic Regional projects around Australia."

AusLink National Network projects

Minister Lloyd said the Australian Government would spend $498.5 million in 2007-08 on AusLink National Network projects and former Roads of National Importance in New South Wales, including the funding for the Pacific and Hume highways. The Government's other spending includes:

  • $36 million in 2007-08 to continue widening the F3 freeway to six lanes between Cowan and Mt Colah and $20 million for the new link from the F3 to Branxton.
  • $25 million in 2007-08 to continue the construction of the Weakleys Drive interchange on the New England Highway in the Lower Hunter Valley.
  • $22 million to start construction of the Newell Highway bypass of Moree.
  • $100 million in 2007-08 to contribute to the cost of maintaining roads on the AusLink National Network.

AusLink Strategic Regional Programme

"The Government will spend an additional $250 million in 2006-07 on AusLink Strategic Regional projects around Australia. The AusLink Strategic Regional Programme helps local councils build transport infrastructure projects that will boost their local and regional economies and create jobs.

"As a result, the Government will be able to make more funding offers in response to the applications we received from councils. The Government will announce the successful projects in the near future, including projects in New South Wales.

"The Government is already contributing $78.8 million to projects in New South Wales under the programme, including $30 million for key projects on the Princes Highway south of Wollongong. We are also helping to reconstruct and seal Main Road 248 West in the Upper Lachlan Shire and contributing to the sealing of 32 kilometres of the Bylong Valley Way.

AusLink Roads to Recovery Programme

"The 152 local councils in New South Wales will receive $85.6 million in 2007-08 from the AusLink Roads to Recovery Programme. The unincorporated areas of the state will receive $600,000 from the programme. In addition, the councils will receive $156 million in untied local road grants.

AusLink Black Spot Programme

"New South Wales will receive $14.3 million in 2007-08 under the AusLink Black Spot Programme, which will fix about 93 priority crash locations," Mr Lloyd said.

Attachment A is a detailed fact sheet about the Australian Government's land transport projects in New South Wales.

Media contacts:
Deputy Prime Minister's office: Tim Langmead 02 6277 7680/0421 584 990
Minister Lloyd's office: James Larsson 02 6277 7060/0434 305 130

ATTACHMENT A

NEW SOUTH WALES

The Australian Government will provide New South Wales with $781.1 million in land transport funding in 2007-08, as set out in the table below. In addition, the Government provided New South Wales with a $960 million advance payment in June 2006 to accelerate work on the Pacific and Hume highways.

The projects detailed in this fact sheet are funded under the existing AusLink land transport programme. The Government will announce the projects that will be funded under AusLink 2 in due course, following discussions with the New South Wales Government.

Australian Government land transport funding, New South Wales, 2007-08

  2007-08
Funding
($ million)
AusLink Investment Programme (1) 498.5
AusLink Strategic Regional Programme 26.7
AusLink Roads to Recovery Programme 85.6
Untied local road grants 156.0
AusLink Black Spot Programme 14.3
Total 781.1

This table updates the tables in Budget Paper No.3. The figures may not add precisely to the total due to rounding.
(1) Includes funding for some former Roads of National Importance projects that are off the AusLink National Network.

AUSLINK NATIONAL NETWORK PROJECTS

Pacific Highway

The Australian Government is contributing $805.7 million between 2004-05 and 2008-09 toward duplicating the Pacific Highway between Hexham and the Queensland border, including our $160 million advance payment to New South Wales in June 2006.

The Government's current projects on the highway are all being funded on a matching basis with New South Wales and are as follows:

Karuah to Bulahdelah Stages 2 and 3

The Australian Government will contribute $73 million in 2007-08 to continue stages 2 and 3 of the Karuah to Bulahdelah upgrade. The 23 kilometre upgrade is estimated to cost $262 million in total and will be completed by mid-2009. Stage 1 opened to traffic in December 2006.

The Australian Government is also contributing $5.4 million in 2007-08 for preliminary work toward the 8.6 kilometre Bulahdelah bypass. The bypass will fill the only missing link between Hexham and Port Macquarie once the Karuah to Bulahdelah and the Coopernook to Herons Creek upgrades are open in 2009.

Coopernook to Herons Creek

The Coopernook to Moorland and Moorland to Herons Creek projects have been combined into a single 32 kilometre project and will be completed by December 2009. The Government is contributing $30 million in 2007-08 for the Coopernook to Moorland section of the highway.

The Moorland to Herons Creek section is receiving $150 million from the $160 million advance payment that the Australian Government provided for the highway in 2005-06.

The combined project is the longest single duplication project undertaken on the Pacific Highway to date and is expected to be completed by December 2009.

Bonville Deviation

The Government will contribute $29.3 million in 2007-08 towards the construction of the Bonville deviation, immediately to the south of Coffs Harbour. This 9.6 kilometre deviation will complete the duplication of the Pacific Highway from Urunga through to Coffs Harbour and is expected to open in September 2008 at an estimated total cost of $245 million.

Sapphire to Woolgoolga

The Sapphire to Woolgoolga duplication project will provide 24 kilometres of new dual carriageway from Sapphire, just north of Coffs Harbour, to Arrawarra Creek, north of Woolgoolga. The Australian Government will invest $1.5 million in 2007-08 to continue preconstruction activities on the project.

Brunswick Heads to Yelgun

The 8.7 kilometre Brunswick Heads to Yelgun project is expected to open to traffic in July 2007. It will complete continuous four-lane highway conditions from the Queensland border to the Byron Bay turn-off at Ewingsdale.

The Australian Government contributed $126.9 million to the $256 million project, which includes new twin bridges over the Brunswick River, interchanges at North Brunswick Heads and Yelgun and the duplication of the Brunswick Heads bypass.

Banora Point deviation

The Australian Government will contribute $2 million ($1 million in 2007-08) toward planning the 2.5 kilometre Pacific Highway upgrade at Banora Point, also known as Sextons Hill, near Tweed Heads. The realignment will eliminate the sub-standard curves on the highway and improve safety.

Tintenbar to Ewingsdale

The Australian Government will provide $10 million ($5 million in 2007-08) to progress planning and pre-construction work on the proposed Tintenbar to Ewingsdale bypass. The 17 kilometre four lane bypass will replace the current two lane highway, which winds over hills and around curves. It will include a short tunnel that will bypass the St Helena section of the highway. The bypass will connect to the Ballina Bypass, which will have received $29 million in Australian Government funding for preconstruction work by June 2007.

Macksville to Urunga

The Australian Government will provide $1.2 million in 2007-08 for planning and other pre-construction activities associated with the 36.8 kilometre Macksville to Urunga project, which is a new commitment within the Pacific Highway Upgrading Programme.

The project will shorten the Pacific Highway, with a new route running east of Macksville and incorporating new bridges over the Nambucca River. It will connect with the completed Raleigh Deviation to the north. To the south, it will connect to the Warrell Creek project, which is having its design reviewed.

Kempsey to Eungai

The new Kempsey to Eungai project will provide a new crossing of the Macleay River and bypass Kempsey and Frederickton to the east. The 40.9 kilometre upgrade will improve traffic efficiency and safety, especially for the people of Kempsey who share their main street with highway users.

The Australian Government will provide $13 million ($3 million in 2007-08 and $10 million in 2008-09) toward planning and pre-construction work on the project.

Myall Way intersection

The Australian Government will invest up to $10 million to fund 50 per cent of the cost of a grade separated interchange between the Pacific Highway and Myall Way (Tea Gardens Road). The local community has raised concerns about the volume of traffic and the level of safety at the current intersection. The funds needed for the upgrade will be drawn from future AusLink funding.

Pacific Highway safety works

The Australian and New South Wales governments are jointly spending $20 million to carry out safety works on sections of the Pacific Highway that have not yet been duplicated. Six safety upgrades are underway or will start before the end of 2007 with completion expected in 2008.

The Australian Government's $10 million contribution to the works is part of its $160 million advance payment to the state for upgrading the highway.

F3 to M2 Link Road

The Australian Government is providing $3.6 million ($500,000 in 2007-08) for planning associated with the proposed new link road from the F3 to the M2/Sydney Orbital. The new link road will relieve congestion for local traffic on Pennant Hills Road and will complete the upgrade of the AusLink National Network through Sydney to motorway standard

The route selection process is currently being reviewed by the Hon Justice Mahla Pearlman AO, the former Chief Judge of the NSW Land and Environment Court. The review will be completed by the end of July 2007.

Hume Highway

The Australian Government has set the objective of duplicating the Hume Highway in southern New South Wales by 2012. By the end of 2009, the whole of the highway in New South Wales will be four lanes except for the sections through Tarcutta, Holbrook and Woomargama, which have a combined total length of just 20 kilometres. Four lane bypasses of these communities will be finished by 2012.

In 2007-08, the Government will invest $105.4 million in the Hume Highway, in addition to the $800 million advance payment for the highway that was provided in June 2006.

Southern Hume accelerated duplication package

The $800 million advance payment is being used to accelerate the duplication of the Hume Highway south of the Sturt Highway intersection. Two alliance contracts have been awarded to duplicate 67 kilometres of the highway between the Sturt Highway, north of Tarcutta, to Table Top, near Albury.

The 22 kilometre section between Table Top and Mullengandra received planning approval as part of the completed Albury Wodonga Hume Freeway project. Other sections to be duplicated include:

  • 6 kilometres between Sturt Highway and Tarcutta
  • 9 kilometres at Kyeamba Hill
  • 8 kilometres at Little Billabong
  • 12 kilometres between Yarra Yarra and Holbrook
  • 10 kilometres between Woomargama and Mullengandra.

Planning for these works is underway. Detailed design and geotechnical investigations are being carried out and construction work is expected to start in mid-2007, subject to planning approval. All of the work will be completed by the end of 2009.

Coolac bypass

The Australian Government will contribute $60 million in 2007-08 to the Coolac bypass. The Government is fully funding the bypass, which will have a total cost of $179 million.

The bypass involves new dual carriageways over almost 12 kilometres of the highway. An adjacent four kilometres of the northbound carriageway will be realigned. Construction will begin in mid-2007 and is expected to be completed by the end of 2009.

Once the Coolac Bypass and the duplication of Sheahan Bridge are completed, there will be continuous four lane driving conditions for over 380 kilometres from Sydney to the Sturt Highway turnoff.

Duplicating the Sheahan Bridge

The Australian Government will spend $20 million in 2007-08 on the duplication of Gundagai's Sheahan Bridge, with work expected to start in mid-2007. The Government will meet the full cost of carrying out the duplication, which will involve a new 1,143 metre bridge alongside the existing structure. The new bridge is scheduled to be completed by September 2009.

Widening the F5 at Ingleburn

The Australian Government will contribute $18.1 million in 2007-08 to widening the northbound side of the F5 from two to four lanes between Brooks Road, Ingleburn, and Camden Valley Way at Prestons. The southbound side of the F5 has already been widened to cater for the increased traffic volumes from the Westlink M7.

The work began in March 2007 and is expected to be completed by mid-2008. The Australian Government is contributing 80 per cent of the cost of the project ($24.1 million in total), with New South Wales funding the remainder.

Towrang and Carrick road intersections

The Australian Government is spending $7.4 million ($2.5 million in 2007-08) on a safety upgrade of the intersection of Towrang and Carrick roads with the Hume Highway, north of Goulburn. The improvements will make it easier and safer for traffic from Towrang and Carrick roads to turn onto the southbound lanes of the Hume Highway. Construction began in January 2007 and is expected to be completed by November 2007.

New England Highway

F3 to Branxton link

The Australian and New South Wales governments propose to build a 39.5 kilometre four-lane highway from the F3 west of Newcastle to Branxton in the Lower Hunter Valley. It will bypass the existing New England Highway route around Maitland.

The Government will provide $20 million in 2007-08 to continue planning and preconstruction activities required before construction can begin. These are due to be completed by mid-2008.

Weakleys Drive interchange

The Australian Government will provide $25 million in 2007-08 to continue the construction of the Weakleys Drive interchange on the New England Highway, near Maitland. The Government is meeting the full $51.8 million cost of the interchange.

The project involves a new bridge that will carry the New England Highway over the intersection of Weakleys Drive and a new road connecting to the Thornton-Beresfield link road. Work began in March 2007 and is expected to be completed in December 2008.

Halcombe Hill realignment

The Australian Government will provide $1.5 million in 2007-08 to complete upgrading the safety of the New England Highway at Halcombe Hill, north of Aberdeen. The project involves interim safety works, which were completed in 2004, and a 1.9 kilometre deviation that incorporates a new bridge to carry the New England Highway over the railway line.

The Australian Government is fully funding the work at a total cost of $18.7 million. It is scheduled for completion in September 2007.

Muswellbrook bypass

The Australian Government will provide $800,000 in 2007-08 to continue the development of the Muswellbrook bypass on the New England Highway. The bypass will address safety, traffic management and congestion issues.

Sunnyside realignment

The Australian Government will provide $800,000 in 2007-08 to continue developing plans to realign the New England Highway at Sunnyside Road, north of Armidale. At present, this section of the New England Highway is of a lower standard than the adjacent sections, so the realignment will make it safer and establish consistent driving conditions. Construction is expected to begin in late 2008.

Newell Highway

Moree bypass

The Australian Government will spend $22 million in 2007-08 to start work on the Moree bypass. Construction will start at the northern end of the bypass in mid-2007. The 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. The southern section of the bypass will involve a second tender. The full bypass will cost a total of $56.2 million and is expected to be completed by mid-2009.

Tycannah Creek causeway improvement

The Australian Government has budgeted $620,000 in 2007-08 for the Tycannah Creek causeway improvements on the Newell Highway, south of Moree. The Australian Government is fully funding the $16.2 million cost of the project, which involves the demolition of the existing Tycannah Creek bridge. It will be replaced by a 190 metre bridge and approaches north of Millie Road and a 120 metre long bridge south of Millie Road.

Work began in July 2006 and is expected to be completed by mid-2007.

Coonabarabran bypass

The Government will contribute $200,000 in 2007-08 to support the planning of the Coonabarabran bypass. A preferred route has been selected, which will now be subject to detailed environmental investigations and an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The route passes to the east of town and skirts the golf course. It will incorporate new crossings of the Castlereagh River and railway line.

Sturt Highway

Gillenbah bridges

The Government will provide $10 million in 2007-08 to upgrade the Sturt Highway at Gillenbah, to the west of Narrandera. The upgrade will rehabilitate the pavement and replace the existing bridges and a culvert. Construction is expected to begin in mid-2007.

Barton Highway

The Australian Government has allocated $20 million ($3 million in 2007-08) towards the proposed duplication of the Barton Highway between the ACT border and the northern end of the Murrumbateman bypass. These funds will cover the preparation of the necessary Environmental Impact Statement and land acquisition.

Higher Mass Limit bridges

The Australian Government is providing New South Wales with up to $30 million ($13 million in 2007-08) to upgrade bridges on the AusLink National Network to facilitate higher mass limit vehicles. These vehicles have road friendly suspensions and can safely carry about 10 per cent more than standard trucks, which reduces the traffic on our roads.

In 2007-08, funds are being provided to the following upgrades:

  • Strengthening the bridge that takes the Princes Highway over the railway line at Kirrawee in southern Sydney.
  • The replacement of two bridges (at Wellington Street and Market Street) over the railway line at Molong on the Mitchell Highway.
  • The replacement of the southbound bridge at Aberdeen over the Hunter River on the New England Highway.
  • Replacing the northbound bridge over the Maria River on the Pacific Highway, 7.7 kilometres south of Kempsey. The contract for this upgrade was awarded in February 2007 and the work is expected to be completed in mid-2008.

Rail improvements

Port Botany links and northern rail line

The Australian Government has allocated $4.5 million in 2007-08 for planning work associated with future track upgrading to improve freight rail efficiency and capacity in Sydney, especially on the city's northern approaches and the links to Port Botany. The Australian Government's total commitment to the upgrade is $110 million.

Australian Rail Track Corporation projects

In 2007-08, the rail freight network in New South Wales will also benefit from the major infrastructure projects that are being managed by the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC), which is owned by the Australian Government.

The ARTC will spend $315 million in 2007-08 on capital expenditure works in New South Wales, including work on the Southern Sydney Freight Line, the North Coast Line improvement programme, the Hunter Valley rail network and Western New South Wales rail improvement works.

In addition, New South Wales will benefit from the $365 million that ARTC will spend in 2007-08 on the north-south rail corridor between Melbourne and Sydney. It is investing in new concrete sleepers, additional passing lanes and automatic block signalling on large sections of the corridor.

Maintenance

The Australian Government will provide $100 million in 2007-08 to help maintain the AusLink road network in New South Wales.

NON-NETWORK PROJECTS

Main Road 92: Nowra to Nerriga

The Australian Government will contribute $4.1 million in 2007-08 to complete its $34 million commitment to the reconstruction and sealing of a 54 kilometre section of Main Road 92 between Nowra and Nerriga. The construction of stage 1 (24 kilometres) is progressing well, with 15 kilometres completed and the remainder expected to be finished by mid-2007. Tenders for the Bulee Mountain section (Stage 2) will then be called.

Princes Highway

The Princes Highway, south of Wollongong, is the responsibility of the New South Wales Government. However, the Australian Government is contributing $30 million to key projects on the highway under the AusLink Strategic Regional Programme. The projects are:

  • $15 million to fix a series of safety trouble spots on the Princes Highway from the south of Nowra to the Jervis Bay Road in Shoalhaven Shire. The project includes duplicating three kilometres of the Princes Highway to four lanes south of Nowra, which will provide extra overtaking opportunities. It also includes a new two-lane bridge over Currambene Creek and four intersection upgrades. The New South Wales Government is contributing $4 million to this project.
  • $10 million for the Conjola Mountain deviation, 46 kilometres south of Nowra. The Australian and New South Wales governments are working to eliminate crests and curves as well as provide overtaking opportunities along 2.3 kilometres of the Princes Highway between Bendalong Road and the Conjola Creek Bridge.
  • $5 million toward the $17 million upgrade of the Pambula River Bridge, 35 kilometres south of Bega, to reduce the number of times it is cut by flooding. The construction of the new 54-metre bridge and the installation of culverts on the northern side started in late April 2007. The whole project, including tie-ins at each end, will be ready by March 2008.

South Batemans Bay bypass

The Australian Government is using the AusLink Strategic Regional Programme to provide $10 million towards the $17 million cost of the South Batemans Bay bypass, with the balance funded by Eurobodalla Shire.

The bypass will provide a link road that connects directly to the Princes Highway, and will remove traffic congestion from the Batemans Bay CBD. Work began on 20 April 2007 and is expected to be completed by the end of 2008.

AUSLINK STRATEGIC REGIONAL PROGRAMME

The AusLink Strategic Regional Programme helps local councils to build transport infrastructure projects that will boost their local and regional economies and create jobs.

The Government is already contributing $78.8 million to projects in New South Wales under the programme, but many important and valuable projects missed out on receiving support because far more applications were received from local councils than could be funded.

As a result, the Government has announced today that it will spend an additional $250 million in 2006-07 on strategic regional projects around Australia.

It will enable the Government to make more funding offers in response to applications it has received from councils. The Government will announce the successful projects in the near future, including projects in New South Wales.

The Government will also invest an additional $300 million in the AusLink Strategic Regional Programme under AusLink 2, which will enable councils to submit new funding applications.

LOCAL ROAD FUNDING

The 152 local councils in New South Wales will receive $85.6 million in 2007-08 from the AusLink Roads to Recovery Programme. The unincorporated areas of the state will receive $600,000 for local roads from the programme.

In addition, the councils will also receive $156 million in untied local road grants.

The Government has announced that the AusLink Roads to Recovery Programme will continue until 2013-14, instead of ending in 2008-09.

AUSLINK BLACK SPOT PROGRAMME

New South Wales will receive $14.3 million in 2007-08 under the AusLink Black Spot Programme, which will be used to fix about 93 priority crash locations.

The Government has announced that the AusLink Black Spot Programme will continue until 2013-14, with a 33 per cent increase in funding from the start of 2009-10. The programme was due to end in 2007-08.