New England Highway upgrade

Infrastructure Australia | Infrastructure Priority List |

New England Highway upgrade

icon stage 1
icon stage 1 red
EARLY STAGE PROPOSAL
icon stage 2
icon stage 2 red
POTENTIAL INVESTMENT OPTIONS
icon stage 3
icon stage 3 red
INVESTMENT READY PROPOSAL
icon stage
icon stage red
PROJECT DELIVERY
icon stage 4
icon stage 4 red
POST COMPLETION REVIEW

New England Highway upgrade

A graphic of the Australian continent with NSW state shaded and small dot representing Newcastle.
LOCATION
Belford to Muswellbrook, NSW
GEOGRAPHY
Small towns, rural communities and remote areas
SECTOR
Transport
OUTCOME CATEGORY
National Connectivity
PROPONENT
NSW Government
PROBLEM TIMEFRAME
Medium term (5-10 years)
DATE ADDED
17 February 2016
Problem

The New England Highway is part of the National Land Transport Network and is a major freight and passenger route, forming part of the inland Sydney–Brisbane corridor. The corridor services a high proportion of heavy freight vehicles and is the main road freight route between the Hunter Valley coalfields and the Port of Newcastle.

Under the existing alignment, the New England Highway passes through the centre of towns such as Singleton and Muswellbrook. Traffic congestion, reduced land freight transport productivity, safety issues (due to the mix of heavy vehicles and residential traffic in the town centres) and amenity issues are the principal problems. The current alignment also limits the extent to which High Productivity Vehicles can be mobilised along the route.

Potential investment options

The proposal includes a number of potential projects to upgrade the New England Highway, including:

  • bypasses of the towns of Singleton and Muswellbrook
  • duplication between Belford and Singleton
  • duplication between Singleton and Muswellbrook
  • realignment at Rocky Cut (north of Scone).

The proposal is designed to aid the efficient movement of freight from regional exporters to the Port of Newcastle, which is essential to supporting economic growth and productivity in New South Wales.

The Australian and NSW Governments have committed $603 million and $619 million respectively towards projects on the New England Highway, including Muswellbrook Bypass, Belford to Golden Highway duplication, as well as planning and pre-construction for the Singleton Bypass and completing the Bolivia Hill Upgrade.

 

Next Steps

Infrastructure Australia completed a Stage 3 evaluation of the business case for Singleton Bypass on 8 September 2022. This was assessed as a funded proposal, given the commitments already received from the Australian and NSW governments. The evaluation summary is available at the link below. The Singleton Bypass project seeks to improve travel reliability on the New England Highway through Singleton, particularly for road freight supporting the Upper Hunter and the northwest New England region.

We are currently undertaking Stage 3 evaluation of the Muswellbrook Bypass business case. The Muswellbrook Bypass project aims to address existing problems through the development of a bypass of Muswellbrook to the east of the town and Skellatar Hill, starting near Milpera Drive and re-joining the New England Highway north of Sandy Creek Road.

Proponent to complete business cases for the remaining projects as part of the upgrade program (Stage 3 of Infrastructure Australia’s Assessment Framework).

Refer to Infrastructure Glossary for terms and definitions.