Tenders are now being called to engage a head contractor to manage the largest project underway as part of an upgrade of the Newell Highway.

The Australian and New South Wales governments have committed more than $257 million towards heavy-duty pavement upgrades along the freight corridor in what the two tiers of government say will deliver safer, more reliable journeys between Narrabri and Moree.

Four priority sections, totalling a 26.85-kilometre stretch of the Newell Highway, will be upgraded.

Works are planned to start early next year after the successful head contractor is announced.

Early enabling works started in June last year and included water main relocations at Bellata.

Federal Member for Parkes Mark Coulton said the construction work will involve building the new sections of road, as well as five new overtaking lanes, intersection upgrades and multiple new bridge-sized culverts.

“This section of the Newell Highway is located within one of the most productive agricultural regions in Australia, so it’s critical that this road is up to scratch to ensure our farmers can more efficiently get their product to market,” Mr Coulton said.

“This is an exciting project for the Narrabri and Moree communities and will not only deliver more jobs locally and ensure motorists

get home sooner and safer, but will help the region take advantage of the benefits of Inland Rail which is steaming ahead.”

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, Barnaby Joyce said the federal government’s $205.7 million investment will ensure this stretch of road can meet the needs of motorists and freight vehicles, while providing opportunities for local and regional contractors.

“The project will reduce travel times, increase freight productivity and improve access along the Newell Highway, as well as to the future Moree Special Activation Precinct and Northern NSW Inland Port at Narrabri,” Mr Joyce said.

NSW Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Paul Toole said work includes installing a heavy-duty surface suitable for heavy vehicles along the prioritised sections of the highway to boost freight efficiencies and improve connectivity for all road users.

“The Newell Highway is the freight backbone of the state, and this latest upgrade builds on our record investment, which also includes rolling out approximately 40 overtaking lanes and opening road train access along the entire length of the highway, to unlock big freight efficiency gains from border to border,” he said.

The Australian and NSW governments have together committed almost $740 million towards the upgrade of the Newell Highway, as part of the Newell Highway Upgrade package.

This complements a further $375 million in funding committed to upgrading this corridor under the Roads of Strategic Importance initiative.

A mandatory pre-tender meeting for pre-qualified tenderers will be held on Tuesday, October 12, 2021.

The community will continue to be kept informed as the project progresses.

Tender documents can be downloaded here.

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