The Northern Tablelands’ largest road project in living memory, the $203 million rebuild of the Newell Highway from Mungle Back Creek to Boggabilla, is powering ahead thanks to the Nationals in Government.

Jointly funded by the Commonwealth and NSW Governments, Federal Nationals Member for Parkes Mark Coulton and Northern Tablelands Nationals MP Adam Marshall have inspected the completed work on the first 18 kilometres of the 27-kilometre project, which is now open to motorists for improved safety and freight efficiency.

“Infrastructure projects like the Newell Highway are forging ahead to support jobs and the local economy in my electorate during these challenging times,” Mr Coulton said.

“The stage one upgrades are primarily about safety, with wider lanes and a one-metre centreline to reduce the risk of collisions.

“We also delivered two new overtaking lanes north of Whalan Creek Bridge, several intersection upgrades and the widening of the road shoulders to better accommodate large numbers of heavy vehicles.

“These upgrades will support opportunities for local industry with new and improved freight efficiency.”

Mr Marshall said that work would now start on stage two, with the completion of the whole project due by the middle of next year.

“Late last year, an additional $81.1 million was secured from the Federal Government, bringing the total commitment to stages one and two, to $203 million,” Mr Marshall said.

“The additional funding has provided the green light for stage two of the project, which will rebuild an additional nine kilometres of the Newell.

“The commitment from both our governments to this project means we’ll be finished by mid next year delivering faster, safer and more efficient journeys through the region.

“This is the first major rebuild of this section of the Newell since it was first bitumen sealed in the early 1970s, so it’s a massive project and step forward for the region.”

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said this was great news for the freight industry which would now experience a safer, smoother and faster journey along this part of the Newell Highway.

“The Australian and NSW Governments have invested $122 million to transform this 18-kilometre section of the Newell Highway, which is a major freight corridor connecting Queensland to Victoria through inland NSW,” Mr McCormack said.

“This forms part of a broader commitment of $700 million in upgrades for the Newell Highway to make sure goods and produce are moved safer and more efficiently from Brisbane all the way to Melbourne.”