THE New England Highway Bypass at Scone is another step closer to reality.
Federal Member for New England Barnaby Joyce today announced the award of the construction contract to Daracon Group for the delivery of the project.
Mr Joyce said the two-lane highway bypass to the west of Scone will provide a vital link in New England’s road network and provide significant advantages to heavy vehicle operators in the electorate.
“This $120 million project is helping build a corridor of commerce in the New England from the Queensland border to Aberdeen and ultimately, on through to Newcastle and Sydney, and this bypass is a vital section of that,” he said.
“It works hand in glove with projects like the Tenterfield heavy vehicle bypass, the Bolivia Hill realignment as well as numerous other resealing and resurfacing works stretching the length of the New England Highway.
“I also want to thank local state member Michael Johnsen for the hard work he has done to help get this project off the ground.”
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Michael McCormack said the bypass construction will feature three bridges and provide major benefits to long-haul heavy vehicle operators and residents and visitors to the town.
“The Scone Bypass will remove a large number of heavy vehicles from the town centre and improve travel times and safety for all road users,” Mr McCormack said.
“Around 8,000 vehicles, including around 1,200 heavy vehicles, use the Kelly Street level crossing in Scone’s central business district every day.
“Substantially reducing these volumes of vehicles will provide huge safety and amenity benefits.”
New South Wales Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight Melinda Pavey, said the four-kilometre section of highway to be bypassed had a poor crash history with 26 crashes recorded in the five years to December 2015.
“The new bypass will help address rising road and rail volumes as well as associated safety issues,” Mrs Pavey said.
“Several design changes were made as a result of feedback received during the December 2015 environmental assessment. These changes will further improve road safety, connectivity and access for local businesses.”
New South Wales Member for Upper Hunter Michael Johnsen said construction was expected to start mid-2018 and be completed in late 2020, weather permitting.
“The Australian and New South Wales Governments will continue to keep the community and stakeholders informed as the project progresses,” Mr Johnsen said.
Access to the bypass would be at the north and south of Scone as well as at St Aubins Street with all access points accommodating all turning directions, providing an alternative route for road users wanting to travel across town unrestricted by rail operations and will be particularly important for emergency services.
The Australian and New South Wales Governments have committed $120 million to fund the New England Highway bypass of Scone.