Construction is underway on the new 20-kilometre stretch of the Pilliga Road between Pilliga and Wee Waa, thanks to funding from all three levels of government.

The $7.84 million upgrade involves reconstructing major flood ways and large sections of road pavement on Pilliga Road in Narrabri Shire Council.

As a sealed regional road and part of the main east/west transport link, Pilliga Road connects Coonamble, Pilliga, Wee Waa and Narrabri, while also serving as a direct link to the Kamilaroi Highway.

This forms part of the important freight route between Narrabri Shire and the ports of Newcastle, Port Jackson (Sydney Harbour), Port Botany and Port Kembla.

Additionally, Pilliga Road is an important route for communities across the Narrabri Shire, including for residents of Pilliga and Gwabegar to access important facilities, such as schools, hospitals and other medical services in Wee Waa.

Regional industries also rely on this route, including the very productive agricultural sector based on cotton, grains, and livestock as well as timber, coal mining and coal seam gas industries.

All levels of government have come together to fund this project, including $4.98 million from the Australian government, more than $2 million provided by the NSW government’s Fixing Country Roads Program and $800,000 contributed by the Narrabri Shire Council.

Construction is expected to be complete by October 2024, weather permitting.

“This project aims to improve safety for all roads users. It’s about making NSW road networks more efficient and accessible, more reliable and better connected,” said Catherine King,

Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government Catherine King.

“The Australian government is committed to building transport infrastructure that connects communities and drives economic growth in our regions.”

Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Jenny Aitchison said, “It’s great to be in Narrabri today to mark the beginning of this important project for upgrades to Pilliga Road, which will provide a much safer journey for the entire community when complete.

“I would like to thank the Narrabri Shire Council for their collaborative work with the Australian and NSW governments around this project, which will result in an all-weather road.

“This will further provide improved transport efficiency, support increased freight movement, and enhance integration with key freight networks.

“The Pilliga Road upgrade is a significant undertaking, and this project’s importance cannot be understated,” said Narrabri Shire Council mayor Darrell Tiemens.

“It has potential to significantly enhance our region’s transportation infrastructure, and I’d like to thank the Australian and New South Wales governments for their generous funding contributions to ensure this project can go ahead.”

“It’s fantastic to see all levels of government coming together to fund such an important project.”

Member for Barwon Roy Butler said, “I have driven the Pilliga Road countless times, and over the years my cars and locals vehicles have shown the scars.

“Today I was delighted to take part in the sod turning for the project Strengthening of the East West Freight Route along the Pilliga Road.

“I welcome anything that will improve that road and make the drive easier – not just on my car, but also for people who have to travel the road regularly.

“This will improve connectivity between Wee Waa and Pilliga, and through to Coonamble.

“Hopefully cracked rims and tyre bubbles will become a thing of the past on this road.

“Still need to do something about the horses though,” said Mr Butler in comments on his social media page.

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