UPGRADES to the New England Highway at Bolivia Hill have moved to the next stage with the contract for developing the concept design and carrying out an environment impact assessment awarded to Hyder Consulting.
Federal Member for New England Barnaby Joyce said the Federal Government announced in the May Budget funding had been approved for the project.
However, Mr Joyce hopes the project could cost substantially less than the initial estimates following the release of the NSW Government’s Bolivia Hill Upgrade Preferred Route Option Report in February.
He said the Commonwealth would carry the major financial load, contributing 80 per cent of the overall cost while the NSW Government will fund the remaining 20 per cent.
“This upgrade, on the section of highway between Glen Innes and Tenterfield, will deliver safer roads for motorists and improve efficiency and productivity for businesses using the road to transport freight,” Mr Joyce said.
“The works will include smoothing hazardous curves and widening the road shoulders to improve road safety and lower the risk of crashes through better visibility.
“The preferred upgrade route was identified earlier this year as providing the best overall balance between engineering, environmental, social and value for money factors.
“The $2.7 million study to identify the preferred route was fully funded by the Australian Government,” Mr Joyce said.
“It’s great to see the preferred option for the Bolivia Hill project is expected to cost less than originally anticipated,” Mr Joyce said.
Member for Northern Tablelands, Adam Marshall, said planning approval was targeted for the end of next year.
“With planning approval, we can proceed to detailed design and inviting tenders to build the project,” Mr Marshall said.
“The New England Highway served as an important economic alternative route to the Pacific Highway for heavy transport from Sydney to Brisbane,” Mr Joyce said.
Further information on the project and its development is as available on the project website at rms.nsw.gov.au/roadprojects/