$15 million Upper Hunter Shire road works to power ahead

18 May 2021

The NSW Government, with the Australian Government and Upper Hunter Shire Council, is investing $15 million to upgrade key roads across the Shire’s road network.

Deputy Premier John Barilaro said work is now underway on a $6.2 million project to deliver safer, faster journeys between Scone and Merriwa, vastly improving Bunnan Road - a key connection for farmers in the west of the Upper Hunter Shire.

“We know how important roads like Bunnan Road are in connecting communities and supporting the movement of freight. That’s why the NSW Government is investing $2.9 million for the project through our Fixing Country Roads program,” Mr Barilaro said.

“The NSW Government has invested millions to fix key freight pinchpoints in the Upper Hunter Shire and have delivered projects like the new Omadale Brook Bridge, the Starrs Crossing Bridge at Timor and the upgrade of the Scone truck wash.

“This next upgrade of Bunnan Road will mean better resilience to landslips, a wider, stronger road able to accommodate heavier vehicles and a slow vehicle lane to clear a bottleneck between Sophia Creek Road and Ollerton Drive.

“It will also mean better access for trucks travelling to and from the Scone Region Livestock Selling Centre, JBS Australia Scone Abattoir and the New England Highway.”

Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Paul Toole said work would start in October on Moonan Brook Road – the first of two projects being upgraded in Upper Hunter Shire thanks to $9.6 million in funding from the NSW and Australian Governments jointly funded rounds of Fixing Local Roads.

“We’re contributing $4.9 million towards Council’s upgrade of Moonan Brook Road which will seal more than five kilometres of road, delivering safer journeys for locals and dramatically improving access to the beautiful Barrington Tops,” Mr Toole said.

“Only last month, we announced more than $4 million from Fixing Local Roads for Barrington Tops Forest Road which connects to Moonan Brook Road and will build on better journeys through this area.”

Mr Toole said the upgrades of Bunnan Road, Moonan Brook Road and Barrington Tops Forest Road would not only deliver safer journeys for road users but create more than 50 jobs.

“Projects like these have unlocked regional job opportunities in construction, while providing upgraded freight routes to save time and deliver smoother, safer and more efficient bridges and roads,” Mr Toole said.

Upper Hunter Shire Council Mayor Maurice Collison said road projects were vital to the ongoing economic prosperity in the Upper Hunter.

“Bunnan Road serves as a key route to the west, linking places like Merriwa and Cassilis to bigger centres such as Scone, so these road upgrades will help keep freight moving and local communities connected,” Mayor Collison said.

“These are vital regional connections and working with the State and Federal Governments, I am pleased to see our Council being able to undertake these much needed road upgrades.”

The $6.2 million Bunnan Road upgrade will be completed in three sections with $2.9 million from the NSW Government’s Fixing Country Roads program, matching funding from the Australian Government’s Roads to Recovery program and $400,000 from Upper Hunter Shire Council. The first section of work will be between Ollerton Drive to Sophia Creek Road, the second will be between Gibbergunyah Road and Ashwood Road and the third section from Bunnan Bridge to Kars Springs Road.

Since 2011, the NSW Government has delivered $240 million for big and small projects right across the Upper Hunter Shire’s road network – from the game-changing Scone Bypass completed six months early to the 14 ageing timber bridges to be replaced under Fixing Country Bridges and critical local road upgrades. It’s all part of our vision for building a safer, stronger region.

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Key Facts:

Since 2011, the NSW Liberals and Nationals in Government have invested more than $240 million in roads and bridges across the Upper Hunter Shire Local Government Area, including:

  • $64.9 million towards the Scone Bypass which was completed six months early
  • $106 million for ongoing roads and bridge maintenance
  • $24.6 million to upgrade the New England Highway between Aberdeen and Willow Tree
  • More than $13.7 million through Fixing Country Roads to improve freight connectivity and reduce the cost of getting goods to market and upgrading truck washes
  • $9.6 million to seal Barrington Forest Road and Moonan Brook Road through Fixing Local Roads
  • $6.6 million through Fixing Country Bridges to replace 14 ageing timber bridges with structures that are safer, stronger and more resilient to natural disasters like fires and floods
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