The Deputy Prime Minister and Member for New England Barnaby Joyce said a key heavy vehicle transport route in the Electorate has been granted $5,452,000 in funding from the Coalition Government.
He said this proposal intends to upgrade Merriwa to Willow Tree Road to allow for complete B-Double access, to increase Heavy Vehicle (HV) productivity through decreasing travel distances, operational costs and safety concerns.
“This route would link primary producers with nearby towns and freight routes, it will reduce overall freight travel distances by 144km return and will improve animal welfare standards,” Mr Joyce said.
He said it would improve emergency transport times and provide an alternative route when nearby routes are flooded or blocked due to a traffic incident.
“Travel distances between Merriwa and Liverpool Shire Council will be shortened by 44km each way, and cattle producers will save 50km to the Killara Feedlot.
Mr Joyce said the widening and sealing of the road was a collaborative project between the Upper Hunter Shire Council and Liverpool Plains Shire Council.
He said planning is at various stages of construction readiness as the proposed project has been divided into three sections.
The Coalition Government will also contribute $475,000 to widen five narrow culverts located on the Kamilaroi Highway which will meet route standards and decrease the risk of HV crashes.
Mr Joyce said the route is approved for road trains and upgrading the culverts to be compliant with safety standards will be a safety benefit.
“Planning, project brief and scope of work is complete with minor design yet to be conducted prior to construction.”