Newell Highway upgrade

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Melbourne–Brisbane connectivity
Priority Initiative
NSW section of Melbourne–Brisbane inland route
Smaller cities and regional centres
National Connectivity
Problem/Opportunity timeframe
Near term (0-5 years)
Proposed By
NSW Government
Date added to the IPL
17 February 2016


The Newell Highway is part of the National Land Transport Network. It is the principal inter-capital freight route between Melbourne and Brisbane, and is a critical link for regional producers in central and western New South Wales. Freight movements on the corridor are expected to grow strongly, supported by robust population growth in both Melbourne and Brisbane.

The efficiency of the route is constrained by localised congestion and flooding, deteriorating pavement and a lack of overtaking opportunities. Road alignment in several sections is also unsuitable for some High Productivity Vehicles.

These factors constrain freight productivity by increasing travel times and the number of vehicle journeys required, as well as reducing freight reliability.

Proposed initiative

The initiative seeks to improve several sections of the highway to support safe High Productivity Vehicle access, and improve safety and reliability.

The initiative will also consider first/last mile issues faced by High Productivity Vehicle operators in the corridor.

Realignment of a 6.5 km section of the highway at Trewilga was completed in February 2018.

Construction commenced on heavy‑duty pavement south of Boggabilla in late 2018. Construction has also commenced on a program to deliver around 30 overtaking lanes.

Planning has commenced for a range of further works:

  • bypasses of Parkes and Coonabarabran

  • heavy‑duty pavement provision (North Moree, Narrabri to Moree)

  • road widening (Boggabilla to Goondiwindi and Coonabarabran to Narrabri)

  • upgrade of intersection with Mitchell Highway at Dubbo

  • new Dubbo Bridge and realignment

  • improved flood immunity.

The NSW Government completed the Newell Highway Corridor Strategy in June 2019 and is progressively developing business cases for each element of this initiative.

Next steps

Proponent to complete business case development (Stage 3 of Infrastructure Australia’s Assessment Framework).