Works progress on Hexham Straight & M1 Motorway extension projects

Monica Gameng   |   August 3, 2023
Hexham Straight Widening project (cr: Transport for NSW)

Works are progressing on two major congestion-busting projects in New South Wales that will ultimately provide relief to long-time traffic bottlenecks and remove thousands of vehicles from local roads. 

Major construction is now underway on the Hexham Straight project and geotechnical drilling has commenced on the M1 Pacific Motorway extension to Raymond Terrace. 

The two projects have a combined cost of $2.1 billion, jointly funded by the Australian and New South Wales Governments – each contributing $1.68 billion and $420 million respectively. 

“The Australian Government is committed to working with the NSW Government to deliver the safe and efficient road network people in the Hunter and beyond need and deserve. 

“The Hexham Straight and M1 Pacific Motorway extension to Raymond Terrace will be major infrastructure links of national significance. 

“Extending the M1 will provide traffic flow and increased connectivity, while catering to strong population growth in the region,” Federal Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government Minister Catherine King said. 

The Hexham Straight project will include: 

  • Upgrades to the six-kilometre section of the Pacific Highway between the Newcastle Inner City Bypass and Hexham Bridge 
  • Widening of the dual carriageway from two lanes to three lanes in each direction 
  • Demolition of the existing Ironbark bridge and construction of two new bridges at Ironbark Creek 
  • Minor intersection upgrades and property adjustments 
  • Utility relocation 

hexham-straight-widening-mapProject map (source: Transport for NSW)

Once completed, the works will help improve traffic flow along this section of the M1 Pacific Motorway while also increasing safety for all road users. 

The Hexham Straight project is expected to create up to 750 jobs during its construction phase. 

“The Hexham Straight Widening Project will transform travel around the Hunter by improving the connection between Newcastle and the New England Highway, M1 Motorway and the Pacific Highway. 

“The Hexham Straight Widening will provide about 750 jobs over its life cycle so it’s a very welcome milestone to see construction underway today,” NSW Roads Minister John Graham said. 

On the other hand, the M1 Pacific Motorway extension to Raymond Terrace will deliver: 

  • 15 kilometres of dual carriageway motorway with two lanes in each direction, bypassing Hexham and Heatherbrae 
  • Interchanges at Black Hill, Tarro, Tomago, and Raymond Terrace 
  • A 2.6-kilometre bridge over Woodlands Close, the Main Northern Railway, New England Highway and Hunter River 
  • Minimum flood immunity along the new roadway for a one in 20-year event 

dhymy5Artist impression of Tomago interchange (source: NSW Government)

This project, once completed, will improve the connection between the M1 Pacific Motorway and the Pacific Highway as well as remove up to 25,000 vehicles a day from key congestion and merge points along the corridor to keep freight, commuters and tourists moving. 

The M1 Pacific Motorway extension to Raymond Terrace project is expected to create and support up to 2,700 jobs during its construction, including employment for approximately 1,050 workers and about 1,650 indirect jobs across the supply chain. 

“It is great to see work on the 15-kilometre M1 Pacific Motorway extension to Raymond Terrace has progressed to geotechnical drilling ahead of the start of major construction. 

“The Aboriginal heritage salvage is now complete, and geotechnical investigations are underway, with more than 100 boreholes to be drilled to determine soil conditions, and location of underground services like water and electricity. 

“The M1 Motorway extension to Raymond Terrace is expected to create and support about 2,700 jobs during the estimated five years of construction, including employment for about 1,050 workers and about 1,650 indirect jobs with businesses supporting the work,” NSW Regional Transport and Roads Minister Jenny Aitchison said. 

The Hexham Straight is due to open to traffic in 2026 and the M1 Pacific Motorway extension to Raymond Terrace is on track to open in 2028. 

Transport for NSW has formed an Alliance with Georgiou, Daracon and SMEC to design and build the Hexham Straight Widening project. 

In December 2022, the contracts to design and build the M1 Pacific Motorway extension to Raymond Terrace were awarded to the John Holland Gamuda Australia Joint Venture for the southern section and Seymour Whyte Constructions for the northern section.  

“The delivery of this commitment on the Hexham Straight Widening will improve traffic flow for 50,000 motorists every day but also improve a generational boost in employment across Newcastle, Port Stephens and the wider Hunter,” Federal Member for Paterson Meryl Swanson said. 

“This 15-kilometre, four-lane extension from Black Hill to Raymond Terrace will be a boost for the Hunter region and will mean no more bumper-to-bumper traffic queues for mums and dads taking the kids on a holiday road trip,” Federal Member for Hunter Dan Repacholi said. 

Source: Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government; Transport for NSW (1, 2, 3); Roads & Infrastructure Australia 

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Monica Gameng
As Felix's Marketing Assistant since 2015, Monica is responsible for researching and sharing new and progressing projects within the construction and mining sectors in Australia. It's no surprise that Monica has her finger on the pulse of Australian major projects given she has produced more than 1,000 posts. She truly is an industry expert.
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