Despite the challenges of drought, bushfires and difficult ground conditions, the Bolivia Hill upgrade is moving ahead to deliver safer, quicker journeys along the New England Highway.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the Federal Liberal and Nationals Government was investing almost $98 million into this vital tourism and freight corridor linking Tenterfield with Glen Innes, as part of its commitment to improve safety on key roads across regional NSW.
“The Bolivia Hill upgrade is another example of how we are working to deliver better road safety and productivity benefits for the New England region and New South Wales as a whole,” Mr McCormack said.
“The Australian Government recently announced an additional $43 million for this project because we know how important it will be – not only for local communities along the road, but also for the tourism and freight industries that use it regularly.”
NSW Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Paul Toole said work to build the 320-metre concrete balanced cantilever bridge and associated road improvements was well under way, bringing the project a step closer to the finish line.
“This upgrade will be great news for about 1500 drivers, including about 500 heavy vehicles, who travel along this stretch of the New England Highway daily, helping connect farmers and other rural businesses with their markets,” Mr Toole said.
“On top of delivering safer and quicker journeys, this project has also supported about 100 jobs, including 30 local jobs, and engaged five local contractors because we know how important it is to drive jobs, strengthen the economy and get people and freight to their destinations sooner and safer.”
Federal Member for New England Barnaby Joyce said the Bolivia Hill upgrade would strengthen the corridor of commerce through the heart of New England.
“Crews have now poured almost half the segments and have also completed the first bridge abutment, with retaining walls currently being built at the northern and southern abutments,” Mr Joyce said.
“This ensures locals will get home sooner and safer.
“Traffic has been moved onto the new embankment north of the bridge, allowing work on building drainage and pavements on the eastern side of the highway to commence.”
NSW Member for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall said the project had had its challenges, but it was now on track to be completed in the second half of 2021, weather permitting.
“While the project was delayed by bushfires earlier this year, it was great that the project team could lend a hand by providing Rural Fire Services crews access to site facilities and water to assist with firefighting efforts in the area,” Mr Marshall said.
“The project team then faced the challenge of difficult ground conditions, and successfully carried out a controlled blast onsite in July to remove hard rock beneath the existing road surface, so it’s great we’re now seeing the bridge take shape.”
Transport for NSW advises motorists the New England Highway will continue to be reduced to one lane at Bolivia Hill while work continues on the upgrade. Traffic control, traffic lights and CCTV cameras are used to manage this alternate flow traffic arrangement 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with road users typically experiencing delays of no more than 10 minutes.
To view the latest project update or find other information about the project click here.