New England Highway upgrade between Belford and the Golden Highway

Roads and Maritime is planning to upgrade the New England Highway between Belford and the Golden Highway to provide two travel lanes in each direction and a flyover for vehicles turning right from the Golden Highway towards Maitland and Newcastle.
The NSW Government has announced $85 million under the Rebuilding NSW Plan for the upgrade to improve traffic flow, travel times and safety for motorists.

Updates and announcements

Work is underway to prepare the concept design and environmental assessment, which are expected to be displayed for community and stakeholder feedback in mid-2017.

More information about the proposed upgrade is available in the September 2016 Project Update (PDF, 816KB).

Project background

The New England Highway is part of the inland route of the Sydney to Brisbane National Land Transport Network and the primary route connecting the Upper Hunter with Maitland and Newcastle. The Golden Highway connects the New England Highway at Whittingham with Dubbo.

These road corridors are designated B-Double routes and are used extensively by heavy vehicles servicing coal mining, grain production and other industries in the Hunter Valley and the Central West to access the port of Newcastle.

The New England Highway is a critical connection between the urban and employment centres of Maitland and Singleton, which are planned future growth areas for the Hunter region.

Around 22,000 vehicles travel along the New England Highway between Belford and the Golden Highway each day. This section of the New England Highway is currently two lanes westbound and one lane eastbound and has a history of crashes, particularly near the Golden Highway intersection.

Key features

The proposed upgrade would include:

  • Widening the New England Highway to provide a divided road with two travel lanes in each direction between Belford and the Golden Highway. This is the last section of the route between Newcastle and the Golden Highway intersection to be upgraded to a four lane divided road
  • Replacing the existing right turn movement from the Golden Highway to the New England Highway with a right turn flyover
  • Establishing a road corridor for future development of the New England Highway towards Singleton.

Project benefits

The proposed upgrade would:

  • Increase capacity and connectivity of the New England Highway and Golden Highway for the efficient and reliable movement of freight
  • Improve safety at the New England Highway and Golden Highway intersection by reducing the risk of crashes, particularly for motorists turning right from the Golden Highway
  • Increase capacity at the New England Highway and Golden Highway intersection to cater for the predicted increase in traffic movements due to future growth in the Hunter
  • Allow for access to existing and future adjoining land uses.

Rest areas

The proposal includes the removal of the Whittingham rest area adjacent to the New England Highway and Golden Highway intersection. Roads and Maritime has built new rest areas on the New England Highway at Rixs Creek Road north of Singleton and on the Hunter Expressway at Branxton and Buchanan. The new rest areas have been designed and positioned to cater for heavy and light vehicle motorists using this route and include toilets, shade shelters, rubbish bins, tables and chairs.

Next steps

Work is underway to prepare the concept design and environmental assessment, which are expected to be displayed for community comment in mid 2017.

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