Ministers for the Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities The Hon Michael McCormack MP Deputy Prime MinisterMinister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Senator the Hon Bridget McKenzie Minister for Regional ServicesMinister for SportMinister for Local Government and Decentralisation The Hon Alan Tudge MP Minister for Cities, Urban Infrastructure and Population The Hon Sussan Ley MP Assistant Minister for Regional Development and Territories The Hon Andrew Broad MP Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister The Hon Scott Buchholz MP Assistant Minister for Roads and Transport The Hon Barnaby Joyce MPFormer Deputy Prime MinisterFormer Minister for Infrastructure and Transport The Hon Dr John McVeigh MPFormer Minister for Regional Development, Territories and Local Government The Hon Keith Pitt MPFormer Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister The Hon Damian Drum MPFormer Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister Senator the Hon Fiona Nash Former Minister for Regional DevelopmentFormer Minister for Local Government and Territories The Hon Darren Chester MP Former Minister for Infrastructure and TransportFormer A/g Minister for Regional DevelopmentFormer A/g Minister for Local Government and Territories The Hon Warren Truss MP Former Deputy Prime Minister Former Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development The Hon Paul Fletcher MP Former Minister for Urban Infrastructure and Cities The Hon Jamie Briggs MP Former Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development

Hunter Expressway Opens for Business

Media Release

WT044/2014

21 March 2014

Joint release with:

Duncan Gay

NSW Minister for Roads and Ports

Residents and freight operators alike have cause for celebration, with the $1.7 billion Hunter Expressway hours away from opening to traffic.

Acting Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss joined New South Wales Minister for Roads and Ports Duncan Gay at the official dedication today, ahead of tomorrow's community open day.

Mr Truss said road users would save up to 28 minutes by using the 40 kilometre expressway from Branxton to the Pacific Motorway after it opens to traffic on Saturday night.

“The Hunter Expressway provides a more direct freight route from the Port of Newcastle to the regions of Central Queensland, Northern New South Wales and Central New South Wales,” Mr Truss said.

“The Hunter Expressway will soon be complemented on the New England Highway by an $80 million realignment at Bolivia Hill and the $45 million Scone Level Crossing.

“These game-changing projects are part of the Coalition Government's $35.5 billion Infrastructure Investment Programme, which will deliver the biggest infrastructure agenda in Australia's history and drive strong, long-lasting economic benefits.”

Mr Gay said the Hunter Expressway would significantly ease congestion by taking trucks and through traffic off local roads.

“This will return local roads to local communities and make them safer for residents and motorists,” Mr Gay said.

“Traffic on the New England Highway through Maitland is forecast to halve as traffic moves onto the expressway, with towns like Greta and Branxton seeing similar benefits.

“In addition to the safety and productivity benefits of the project, the Hunter Expressway is a magnificent display of engineering.  One of the bridges through the Sugarloaf Range rises 47 metres above the valley floor.

“I encourage people to take the opportunity tomorrow morning to enjoy walking or cycling along the Expressway at the community open day. It will be a great day for the Hunter.”

The Australian Government provided $1.5 billion to deliver the Hunter Expressway, and the New South Wales Government provided the remaining $200 million.