Bolivia Hill - New England Highway

The Australian and NSW governments have committed funding for planning and building the proposed Bolivia Hill upgrade.

Bolivia Hill - New England Highway

Updates and announcements

Bolivia Wattle seed collection

Roads and Maritime Services worked with Northern Tablelands Local Land Services to collect seed from the native Bolivia Wattle as part of this project.

The identification of this important plant during environmental assessments for the work provided an opportunity for Roads and Maritime to work with the local community to arrange seeds to be gathered and stored for the future.

Northern Tablelands Local Land Services collects and stores more than 400 threatened and endangered native seeds under scientific licence making the seedbank available for the Northern Tablelands and North West regions, for revegetation and tree planting activities.

The Inverell Aboriginal Men’s Group participated in a professional seed collecting course in 2015 to learn species identification, seed collection methods and seed storage and were engaged to collect the rare and endangered wattle species.

The five men have been observing the Bolivia Wattle trees regularly to monitor flower show and seed setting so that when the seed pods begin to open, they were ready to harvest the seeds. The seeds were then cleaned and stored for future use.

Current activities

Detailed design has started, including geotechnical surveys at the site of the new bridge. Once the detailed design is finished, tenders will be invited to build the project.

Further details are outlined in the April 2016 community update.

Project background

The preferred route for the upgrade of Bolivia Hill was confirmed in February 2014.  You can view or download the Bolivia Hill Preferred Route Option Report.

The preferred route for the Bolivia Hill upgrade will:

  • Improve road safety
  • Improve road transport productivity, efficiency and reliability of travel
  • Minimise the impact on the natural, cultural and built environment
  • Provide value for money.

Review of Environmental Factors (REF)

To assess the potential environmental and social impacts of the proposed upgrade of the New England Highway at Bolivia Hill, Roads and Maritime Services prepared a Review of Environmental Factors (REF) and placed it on display for public comment 25 September 2015 to 26 October 2015.

The feedback received was collated and responded to in a submissions report.

Roads and Maritime received 15 submissions, each of which was examined to understand and respond to the issues raised. The main issues related to:

  • The strategy for existing roadside memorials
  • The need for an overtaking lane
  • Local traffic access
  • Biodiversity protection
  • Traffic delays during construction
  • Heritage protection
  • Project justification.

After considering the issues raised in the feedback from the public and government agencies, additional environmental safeguards were included to manage and address comments raised in the submissions.

The Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) requested additional Aboriginal heritage surveys be carried out to confirm the previous studies for the project site. These were completed with the Local Aboriginal Land Council and project archaeologists. While the additional surveys confirmed previous findings, the project’s boundaries have been altered and buffer zones marginally increased as a precautionary measure.

The REF is now finalised and the project will proceed with the minor changes described above.

Share this page: