Pacific Highway Upgrade, Kempsey Bypass

Completed: 2013

This 14.5km section of the Pacific Highway upgrade was built as part of the Australian Government’s Building Australia Fund. To maximise the benefits to the Australian economy, the project was split into two contracts – Kempsey Bypass and the Macleay River crossing. Roads and Maritime managed the design with both contractors and ensured a consistency of style and quality based around the Pacific Highway Urban Design Framework so that the two projects seamlessly integrated.

The bypass section of the project includes bridges, earthworks and landscape that continue the Pacific Highway themes of simplicity, elegance and a lush landscape. The Macleay River Bridge at 3.2km is the longest river crossing on the Pacific Highway and the longest bridge in Australia at the time of its completion. It was built as a 99 span girder bridge and the simple repetition of well resolved details creates an attractive outcome for the bridge as a whole. The bridge is so long that the vertical piers at either ends of the bridge are measurably out of parallel due to the curvature of the earth.

The project is respectful and sensitive to the landscape and the towns of Kempsey and Frederickton. It provides an attractive road user experience with high quality elements and good views. Its impact on the towns is limited by landscape and mounding, the latter in place of more intrusive noise walls. A section of new river bank along the Macleay River frontage and a boat ramp was built in Frederickton as part of the project, improving access to the river.

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