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 Higher Productivity Vehicles can be mobilised along the route.
The initiative 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
The initiative 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.
Proponent to complete business case development (Stage 3 of Infrastructure Australia’s Assessment Framework).