New Safer Connection Through Hexham

Taylor martin MLC is pleased to announce new safety measures for the New England Highway and Pacific Highway connection. Photo: Marian Sampson.

 

FOR many motorists getting to and from Port Stephens or the Mid North Coast is quite a headache – they get stuck in the Hexham bottleneck.

The connection between the end of the M1 at the New England Highway through Hexham to the junction at the Pacific Highway is often queued with traffic in both directions.

Creating a significant bank up to Raymond Terrace or through Cabbage Tree Road to Nelson Bay Road.

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Add to the mix a holiday weekend and a long delay on Nelson Bay Road and the trip can have hours added to its length.

The planned extension of the M1 to Raymond Terrace is still a long way off with the NSW Government’s infrastructure website stating the project is under planning and due for completion mid 2029.

When it is delivered there will be a 15km dual carriageway extension of the M1 Pacific Motorway connecting the motorway at Black Hill to the Pacific Highway at Raymond Terrace.

The works include a 2.6km bridge over the New England Highway and Hunter River, and upgrades to the surrounding network.

In the interim, the NSW State Government has announced additional safety measures for the connection between the New England Highway and the Pacific Highway with works on safety signage to commence next week.

Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter Taylor Martin said the NSW Government is providing almost $1 million through the Safer Roads Program to help reduce the risk of crashes on this key route linking Newcastle with the New England and Pacific highways.

“These improvements will help the 65,000 motorists travelling daily on this route through Hexham to complete their journeys safely and return to their loved ones,” Mr Martin said.

“The project will also generate work for about 15 local workers, providing a much-needed boost to the local economy as we continue to recover from COVID-19.”

Mr Martin said Transport for NSW will be carrying out work on a 6.5 kilometre section of the Pacific Highway, between Ferry Road and the Hexham Bridge.

“This will involve installing four advanced warning signs with flashing lights to warn motorists to prepare to stop, together with two vehicle-activated signs with flashing lights to detect the speed of vehicles and warn drivers to slow down when traffic is queuing ahead,” Mr Martin said.

“These signs and some additional static signs will help to improve safety along the route, especially when traffic is heavy.

Work will also involve tree trimming to improve sight distance, trenching and electrical work and concreting to install the new signs.

Crews started work on Monday 7 June and are expected to complete the project by the end of June, weather permitting.

To reduce the impact to motorists, work will be carried between 7pm and 5am from Sunday to Thursday.

Lane closures and a reduced speed limit will be in place during work hours for the safety of workers and road users.

Motorists are advised to allow up to five minutes extra travel time, drive to the conditions and follow the directions of signs and traffic control.

Getting to and from Port Stephens for holidays and work is just about to become safer.

 

By Marian SAMPSON

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