M1 to Raymond Terrace takes shape

4 November 2020

The M1 Pacific Motorway extension to the Pacific Highway at Raymond Terrace is taking shape with revised designs developed following community feedback.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the Australian Government had committed $1.6 billion on top of the New South Wales Government’s $400 million commitment to build the extension and improve Hexham Straight, delivering safer and more efficient journeys for thousands of motorists.

“It was only in June this year we hit the finish line on the Australian and NSW Governments’ $391.6 million M1 productivity upgrades, helping people reach their destinations sooner and safer on one of Australia’s busiest roads,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.

“The M1 productivity upgrades have been a game changer, increasing capacity from two lanes to three in each direction between the Kariong and Doyalson interchanges.

“This section of motorway is signposted at 110 kilometres per hour, which means motorists using one of Australia’s fastest-growing corridors have the safer, free-flowing motorway they deserve.

“The M1 extension is the next step and we’re committed to seeing it delivered. The improved design shows how we are planning for the future of the state’s road network and the massive growth we’re seeing between Sydney, Newcastle, the North Coast and Brisbane.”

NSW Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Paul Toole said the M1 extension to Raymond Terrace would create an estimated 2,700 jobs on top of the 360 jobs created by the M1 productivity upgrades, as part of the NSW Government’s infrastructure pipeline.

“This project is the key to completing a fully upgraded road between Sydney and Brisbane with the Pacific Highway duplication on track to be completed later this year – one of the most important freight corridors in the state,” Mr Toole said.

“We know that a fully upgraded Pacific Highway is critical to driving jobs and investment in regional economies on the NSW North Coast, and the M1 extension is critical to that vision.

“Anyone who drives that road knows traffic slows down considerably as you attempt to cross the Hunter River at Hexham, and that is a problem for keeping freight, commuters and tourists moving.

“The community wants this upgrade to benefit them and we are listening, which is why we’ve made these refinements to the design to ensure it delivers – not just for the 60,000 motorists who use the existing road every day, but for the local community too.

“This is a complex project, and it will take time, but we are not afraid to tackle the big challenges because we know the benefits they bring.”

Senator for New South Wales Perin Davey said the project would boost access and facilitate economic growth to and from key employment areas such as Heatherbrae, Tomago, Beresfield, Black Hill, the Port of Newcastle and Greater Newcastle.

“This is a key freight route integral to linking the production of the region to markets so improving transport efficiencies will lead to business efficiencies,” Senator Davey said.

“Importantly, the project will also make the road more reliable by providing flood immunity of a minimum of once in 20 years on the M1 extension between Black Hill and Raymond Terrace.”

Senator for New South Wales Hollie Hughes said the extension of the M1 Pacific Motorway would include a 15-kilometre dual carriageway motorway bypassing Hexham and Heatherbrae.

“This will include a 2.6 kilometre bridge over the New England Highway and Hunter River and upgrades to the surrounding network,” Senator Hughes said.

“The project will improve travel times and safety at this key strategic junction of the M1 Pacific Motorway, the New England Highway and the Pacific Highway.”

Chairman of Regional Development Australia Hunter John Turner said progress on the M1 extension was welcome news for the economic development of the Hunter.

“Better connectivity will stimulate employment, improve productivity and energise industry growth so the region can capitalise on its competitive advantages,” Mr Turner said.

Community feedback has helped shape the refined design, which includes improved access through Tomago at Old Punt Road, and to the Hunter Region Botanic Gardens. Work is now progressing to complete the concept design and Environmental Impact Statement for display next year.

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