The Hunter Expressway

The Hunter Expressway opened to traffic on 22 March 2014. The expressway has improved travel times for motorists between Newcastle and the Upper Hunter and has improved journeys across the broader network. Preliminary traffic data shows around 20,000 vehicles per day using the Hunter Expressway on weekdays and weekends.

The Hunter Expressway
The Hunter Expressway

Updates and announcements

Hunter Expressway improves traffic flow and reduces congestion

Since it opened on 22 March 2014, the Hunter Expressway has improved travel times for motorists between Newcastle and the Upper Hunter and has improved journeys across the broader network. See About this project for further details.

Project background

The Australian Government provided $1.5 billion funding and the NSW Government up to $200 million to complete the Hunter Expressway.

This $1.7 billion project involved the construction of a four lane freeway link between the M1 Pacific Motorway near Seahampton and the New England Highway, west of Branxton. The new expressway provides a new east-west connection between Newcastle and the Lower Hunter and is one of the biggest road infrastructure projects to be built in the Hunter.

Preliminary traffic data shows around 20,000 vehicles per day using the Hunter Expressway on weekdays and weekends.

Other key routes, particularly the New England Highway near Maitland, have greatly benefited since the expressway opened.

Preliminary data shows major decreases in traffic on the New England Highway, with a 45 per cent reduction through Lochinvar and about a 25 per cent reduction through East Maitland and Maitland.

Heavy vehicles on the New England Highway through Lochinvar have fallen by up to 65 per cent and heavy vehicles through Maitland have fallen by more than 40 per cent.

Of the routes accessing the expressway the Newcastle Link Road has seen a 30 per cent increase in traffic, which is similar to what Roads and Maritime had predicted.

Traffic at Weakleys Drive has experienced a decrease of 15 to 20 per cent of total traffic, with a reduction of around 20 to 25 per cent in heavy vehicles.

Cessnock Road, near the New England Highway, has experienced an increase in the order of 1,500 vehicles per day. However, this increase is much lower than anticipated. Similarly, Buchanan Road and Hart Road have had increases in the order of 1,500 to 2,500 vehicles per day, which is also lower than expected.

The improvements to traffic flow on the New England Highway and the reduction of traffic on this key route is a great outcome for motorists.

The Hunter Expressway was designed to accommodate long-term development and growth in the Hunter region in the coming decades. Roads and Maritime will continue to monitor traffic counts as traffic settles into established patterns.

Read more about this project >>

Project objectives

The Hunter Expressway, a 40 kilometre expressway link, provides significant improvements in travel time and safety for motorists travelling between Newcastle and the Upper Hunter.

Key features

  • Six grade-separated interchanges allow motorists to access the expressway.
  • 40 kilometres of dual carriageway freeway
  • 52 bridges, including almost 800 metres of high bridges through Sugarloaf Range.

Community engagement

Milestones and achievements 2013

View or download a brochure detailing the Hunter Expressway milestones and achievements.

Environmental Protection Licence (EPL) data

The community can access Environmental Protection licence (EPL) monitoring data for the Hunter Expressway:

Share this page: