Christmas present for holidaymakers with full access to upgraded Newell Highway

A major upgrade to 27 kilometres of the Newell Highway between Mungle Back Creek and Boggabilla in Northern New South Wales near the Queensland border has opened to traffic – months ahead of schedule.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the $203 million upgrade of the Newell Highway between Mungle Back Creek and Boggabilla would ensure the freight backbone of NSW would meet existing and future needs.

“Upgrading the Newell Highway saves lives and gets people to where they need to go sooner and safer,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.

“Opening traffic to this major upgrade months ahead of schedule is exactly what delivery looks like.

“This means road users have full access along the new section of road before the busy Christmas holiday travel period – a huge win for the freight industry, as well as for visitors and local communities.”

New South Wales Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Paul Toole said the upgrade included new heavy-duty road, 3.5-metre-wide lanes, intersection improvements, widening of shoulders and two new overtaking lanes.

“We know how important the Newell Highway is as a freight corridor – and this upgrade will deliver yet another boost to efficiency and trip reliability for our truckies,” Mr Toole said.

“It means more opportunities to safely pass slow moving traffic and more reliable trips for all motorists.”

Federal Member for Parkes and Minister for Regional Health, Regional Communications and Local Government Mark Coulton said the project has provided a welcome boost to the local economy, with more growth opportunities still to come.

“With summer holidays nearly here and the New South Wales–Queensland border now open, we’re going to see even more travellers enjoy smoother and safer journeys along this stretch of road as they check out what the Parkes electorate has to offer,” Mr Coulton said.

“This project has supported more than 500 jobs since the start of construction, injecting critical stimulus into the Moree Plains Shire Council area and leaving long-lasting benefits for the entire community.” 

State Member for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall said there had been a strong focus on Aboriginal participation, with expenditure on Aboriginal participation up to the end of September clocking past the $3 million mark – equivalent to 61,108 hours.

“As well as creating jobs for Aboriginal people, the team working on the project has also focused on Indigenous heritage, including cultural heritage training and assisting the local community in establishing a bush food garden at the local school,” Mr Marshall said.

“Boggabilla Central School is one location taking advantage of this focus and they have integrated garden design, local history and culture into their curriculum.”

The site will shut down on 18 December with final work to be carried out after the school holidays in the New Year, before the 110 km/h speed limit will be applied to the 27-kilometre section of road at the northern-most end of the Newell Highway.

A final seal will be applied to the road from February, along with some work to finalise property accesses along the project length and to install additional roadside drainage.

This final work will require reduced speed limits and lane closures closest to where work is being carried out before the entire project is due for completion by Easter next year.

The $122 million first stage of the upgrade opened in May 2020 and was jointly funded by the Australian and New South Wales governments. The Australian Government is fully funding the $81.1 million Stage 2 works under the Roads of Strategic Importance initiative.

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