The first stage of the Barton Highway upgrade project is underway thanks to the NSW Nationals in the state and federal governments.

Deputy Prime Minister and federal Transport Minister Michael McCormack said awarding the first-stage contract allowed for vital works to now begin.

“The first stage in the Barton Highway upgrade will see a fully duplicated highway between Murrumbateman and the ACT, adding capacity, easing congestion and enhancing safety for the community,” Mr McCormack said.

“The award of contract means major construction is expected to start later this year, which is great news for commuters travelling between Canberra, Murrumbateman and Yass.

“The four-lane highway will improve safety, reduce travel times and increase freight productivity for the 13,000 motorists using the corridor each day.

“We are investing in our post-pandemic future by delivering lasting infrastructure which will kick-start our economic recovery and benefit Australians for years to come.”

NSW Nationals Regional Transport Minister Paul Toole said the alliance model being used to upgrade the Barton Highway was selected to ensure the program could be delivered faster and more efficiently, delivering benefits to communities sooner.

“We took this same approach on the Newell Highway Upgrade Program, entering into an alliance agreement with the private sector, which is seeing us delivering that program ahead of schedule, while at the same time creating jobs in regional communities,” Mr Toole said.

“The first stage of the Barton Highway duplication is expected to provide about 80 jobs, which shows how serious we are about keeping money and jobs in local economies during these challenging times.”

As part of the upgrade, state-of-the-art electronic message boards and closed-circuit televisions (CCTV) have been installed along the Barton Highway and Yass Valley Way. The permanent electronic message boards use real-time technology to advise road users of changed traffic conditions, journey times and provide fog detection warnings to help road users navigate changing weather and traffic conditions.

The NSW Nationals in both state and federal governments are each investing $50 million on the Barton Highway upgrade project, with a further $100 million committed.