Aerial shot of Pilliga Widening

Pilliga Widening

The NSW Government has committed $8.8 million to develop design concepts for the widening of the Newell Highway between Coonabarabran and Narrabri through the Pilliga – known as the Pilliga Widening project.

This project will ultimately reduce travel times, improve journey reliability and improve safety along the Newell Highway for road users.

Latest news

FEB 2022

FEB 2022Investigation work continuing

Investigation work is continuing to assist in developing a concept design for the Pilliga widening project including field surveys, geotechnical testing and environmental assessments. Find out more about where the planning is up to by reading the latest project update (PDF, 507Kb).

Project Information

The Newell Highway is the longest highway in NSW and is a vital transport corridor between Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland, as well as a major interstate freight corridor between Melbourne and Brisbane providing freight access between key regional primary industries.

A substantial part of the Newell Highway between Coonabarabran and Narrabri was built as a “green fields” road in the 1960s largely through the Pilliga Scrub. This stretch of road consists of a narrow formation for an extended distance with steep, high embankment without sufficient barrier protection. The narrow formation contributes to increased risk for road users and safety concerns due to head on collisions on this high speed two lane road carrying heavy freight, recreational and regular traffic.

The Pilliga Widening project will improve safety along this corridor through provision of a safer, wider road that includes a 1m wide centerline and flatter slopes on embankments.

The NSW Government has funded $8.8 million for the next stage of concept design work which commenced in August 2021 and will take approximately 29 months to complete.

The primary objectives of the Pilliga Widening project are to:

  • Improve road safety
  • Improve efficiency for all customers

Investigation work will be carried out to survey a ground model for project planning, this includes undertaking investigation works across the alignment including field survey, geotechnical testing and environmental assessments

There will be 7 sections assessed as part of the work. These sections are between approximately 10 kilometres north of Coonabarabran and five kilometres south of Narrabri.

Field survey works are expected to start from Monday 30 August and will take place over the next six months.

Transport for NSW will continue to keep the community informed as the project progresses.

Location of the survey between Connabarabran and Narrabri map

Project documents

Media releases

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1 September 2021

Contractor announced to lead design of Newell widening work through Pilliga


Project updates

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February 2022 project update

Newell Highway Upgrade - Pilliga Widening.


Project notifications

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September 2021 project notification

Investigation work on the Newell Highway between Coonabarabran and Narrabri from Monday 30 August.



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