The 40km Hunter Expressway delivers a four-lane motorway link between the M1 Pacific Motorway, near Seahampton and the New England Highway, west of Branxton. One of the largest infrastructure projects ever undertaken in NSW, the Hunter Expressway provides significant improvements in travel time and safety for motorists travelling in this part of the Hunter region.
Heading west from the M1, travellers encounter pristine bushland through the mountainous Sugarloaf Range. Views from viaducts into the bushland alternating with cuttings up to 30m deep characterise this part of the project. The motorway emerges from the Sugarloaf Range onto the Buchanan floodplain, a broad valley with expansive views both sides of the corridor fringed by eucalypt forest.
Further west, more bushland in a gentle undulating topography is experienced before a high point is reached near Allandale, where panoramic views to distant mountain ranges are visible in both directions. The Spotted Gum Forest east of Branxton, and Black Creek lowlands and river, mark the point where the motorway rejoins the existing New England Highway.
The project pioneered a method of revegetation in which seed and mulch rich soil was returned immediately to finished batters. This has resulted in successful re-establishment of native vegetation without the need to purchase the quantity of seed which would traditionally be required.