Cobb Highway and Silver City Highway sealing and upgrade program

The NSW Government is providing $145 million to seal and upgrade the remaining 209 kilometres of the Cobb and Silver City highways in far western NSW. Roads and Maritime Services is delivering this work and once complete, freight access, travel times and safety will be improved for all road users.

Road work underway on the Silver City Highway at Eight Mile
Road work underway on the Silver City Highway at Eight Mile

Updates and announcements

The ambitious $145 million NSW Government project to ensure all roads within the state highway network are sealed will be completed earlier than scheduled, improving freight access, flood immunity, regional development and road safety.

Rebuilding and sealing the most remote highways in NSW – the Cobb and Silver City highways – will result in safer journeys for local road users and tourists and greatly improve safety and access for the movement of freight and goods to remote communities.

The NSW Government has prioritised this important work and will ensure it is completed in 2022, at least six months earlier than planned, weather permitting.

The upgrade work is being carried out on both highways and involves substantial earthworks to rebuild and reshape the existing gravel roads, laying down a bitumen seal, line marking and improving drainage on the sides of the road.

During the entire funding package approximately 150 road workers, trainees and apprentices will be employed each year.

Project background

The NSW Government announced it will invest $145 million to seal and upgrade the remaining 209 kilometres of the Cobb and Silver City Highways. This brings the total investment in the highways to $195 million since 2011. Around 113.5 kilometres of highway has already been sealed between 2011 and mid-2019.

The Cobb Highway runs from Moama, on the Victorian border, to the Barrier Highway, near Wilcannia, via Ivanhoe and Hay. It is 571 kilometres long, with 85.5 kilometres of unsealed surface remaining. 

The Silver City Highway connects Buronga, on the Victorian border with the Queensland border via Broken Hill and Tibooburra. It is 683 kilometres long, with 84.1 kilometres of unsealed surface remaining.

The Cobb and Silver City highways provide a north – south connection between north-western Victoria and north-western NSW. They are the only roads in the NSW State Highway network that are not sealed. Unsealed highways in this part of NSW can easily flood and remain closed for weeks after periods of considerable rain. Highway closures currently impact the road up to 12 times per year, directly affecting local residents and businesses, essential services and interstate road users.

Once the remaining sections of the highway are sealed, families and businesses will have long-term access to safer and more reliable roads in western NSW.

Project benefits

What does the project mean for the local and wider network?

  • Fewer highway closures - As part of the road upgrade, table drains will be established on both sides of the highways to remove water from the road during periods of heavy rainfall. [Insert photo of table drain next to highway?]
  • Greater economic opportunities for local and interstate businesses - The upgrade will provide a more secure transport route for local produce and industries.
  • More efficient travel – A sealed road will mean motorists have a smoother journey, better visibility of the road and a more direct route across western NSW.
  • Safer travel conditions - Gravel roads can be difficult for motorists to travel on due to their roughness and the amount of dust generated by vehicles. Sealing the highways leads to improvements in road safety.

Other benefits for locals and the wider community include:

  • More reliable access to schools and hospitals
  • Reduced travel times by up to 30 minutes
  • Improved connections for the freight and livestock industry in remote NSW
  • Reduced time, cost and resources used in road maintenance
  • Improved wet weather immunity and more reliable road access
  • Smother and safer road surface.

Project features

The key features of the sealing and upgrade work include:

  • Constructing north and southbound traffic lanes
  • Rebuilding and sealing the roads
  • Installing drainage structures to combat impacts of flooding
  • Constructing a bridge across Packsaddle Creek
  • Installing a landing strip for the Royal Flying Doctor Service at Shannon’s Creek, completed in 2015.

Completed work

Silver City Highway:

  • Milparinka - This project involved sealing a 4.9 kilometre section of the Silver City Highway, 292 kilometres north of Broken Hill
  • Warratta Creek - This project involved sealing an 8 kilometre section of the Silver City Highway, 301 kilometres north of Broken Hill
  • Milpa Flat - This project involved sealing a 5 kilometre section of the Silver City Highway, 195 kilometres north of Broken Hill
  • William’s Tank, Stage One - This project involved sealing a 3.6 kilometre section of the Silver City Highway, 200 kilometres north of Broken Hill
  • Packsaddle Bridge and approaches - This project involved sealing 2.4 kilometres section and construction of a bridge on the Silver City Highway, 175 kilometres north of Broken Hill.
  • Eight Mile Creek - This project involved sealing 7.2 kilometres of the Silver City Highway, 87 kilometres north of Broken Hill.
  • Euriowie Creek - This project involved sealing 13 kilometres of the highway, 70 kilometres north of Broken Hill.
  • Barons Creek, Stage Two - This project involved sealing a 1.2 kilometre section of the Silver City Highway, 181 kilometres north of Broken Hill, closing a gap between previously sealed sections north of Barons Creek.
  • Shannon’s Creek – This project involved sealing a 13.4 kilometre section of road, 207 kilometres north of Broken Hill, including constructing a 1.5 kilometre emergency landing airstrip. Isolated communities now have access to emergency services including the Royal Flying Doctor Service.
  • Barons Creek Initial Seal, Stage One and Three - This project involved sealing a four kilometre section of the Silver City Highway, 181 kilometres north of Broken Hill.
  • Peak Hill Causeway - This project involved sealing a 4.3 kilometre section of the Silver City Highway, 271 kilometres north of Broken Hill.

Cobb Highway:

  • Slamannon - This project involved sealing a 5.4 kilometre section of the Cobb Highway, 118 kilometres north of Ivanhoe
  • Menindee Road North - This project involved sealing a two kilometre section of the Cobb Highway, 9 kilometres north of Ivanhoe
  • White Elephant Tank Extension - This project involves sealing a two kilometre section of the Cobb Highway, 103 kilometres north of Ivanhoe
  • Teryawynia - This project involved sealing a 5.1 kilometre section of the Cobb Highway, 130 kilometres north of Ivanhoe
  • Fairmount - This project involved sealing a 9.6 kilometre section of the Cobb Highway, 135 kilometres north of Ivanhoe
  • Eurella– This project involved sealing a 10 kilometre section of the Cobb Highway, 29 kilometres north of Ivanhoe
  • Dromore– This project involved sealing 6.1 kilometres of the highway, 81 kilometres north of Ivanhoe
  • Teryawynia South - this project involved sealing 6.1 kilometres of the Cobb highway, 124 kilometres north of Ivanhoe.

Next steps

All remaining unsealed sections of the Cobb and Silver City highways are now in planning or construction.

Work will start on Monday 1 July on a 3.4 kilometre section at Peak Hill Central on the Silver City Highway.

Work is also continuing on a 5.5 kilometre section on the Cobb Highway at Gypsum Mine North, 43 kilometres north of Ivanhoe, with work expected to be completed by mid August, weather permitting.

Roads and Maritime is committed to keeping you informed as work continues to progress on the remaining unsealed sections over the next five years.

Project documents

 

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