The sod has finally been turned on the first stage of the Barton Highway duplication. On hand with a shovel was Deputy Prime Minister & Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack, Senator for NSW Jim Molan, NSW Member for Goulburn Wendy Tuckerman, Yass Valley Mayor Rowena Abbey and Transport for NSW South Director Sam Knight.

The partial duplication is a project expected to improve safety, reduce travel times and increase freight productivity for the 13,000 motorists who use the corridor every day.

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said the Australian Government had committed a further $100 million towards extended duplication works under the Roads of Strategic Importance initiative.

“This $100 million Federal Government injection complements the initial investment of $50 million from both the Australian and New South Wales Governments towards the Barton Highway Upgrade project,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.

“The Barton Highway is a crucial part of the NSW and ACT transport network, connecting communities to essential services, employment, healthcare, education opportunities and integral freight movement.”

NSW Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Paul Toole said the first stage of the project will be delivered by the Barton Highway Upgrade Alliance, with contractors Seymour Whyte Constructions and SMEC partnering with Transport for NSW.

“The first stage of the project is expected to support about 80 jobs, getting Australians back to work in these challenging times and supporting the local economy,” Mr Toole said.

“Early works will involve site establishment and utility relocation work, with major works to build what will ultimately be new northbound lanes from the ACT border to Kaveney’s Road to start early in 2021.”

Senator for New South Wales Jim Molan said the highway duplication work had been prioritised to start from Hall.

“This section was identified as the priority for duplication as it has higher traffic volumes and a higher crash rate than other sections, which will be upgraded in later stages of this project,” Senator Molan said.

“The upgrade will also meet growing transport demands, ease congestion approaching Canberra and improve safety for through, local and tourist traffic along the corridor.”

State Member for Goulburn Wendy Tuckerman said the start of works followed a number of smaller projects, including safety upgrades to intersections and bus stops and the installation of a $3.25 million intelligent transport system.

“The new highway is also expected to have a 100 km/h speed limit, making journeys more efficient for motorists and the freight industry,” Mrs Tuckerman said. The initial stage of duplication is expected to be completed in late 2021.