After more than seven years of lobbying the Federal Government, duplication of the Barton Highway has finally begun.
NSW Senator Jim Molan, Member for Goulburn Wendy Tuckerman and Yass Valley Mayor Rowena Abbey turned the first sod this morning (23 November) near Hall where stage one of the duplication will begin.
Under stage one, duplication will continue from Hall to Kaveneys Road in Jeir, south of Murrumbateman.
Initial works began today and major works will begin in the New Year. Stage one is slated for completion in 2023.
Yass Valley Mayor Rowena Abbey said it was a “momentous occasion” for the local community and southern NSW.
In 2019, the Barton Highway was voted the worst road for congestion and safety in the Canberra/Goulburn region in a survey conducted by the NRMA.
Duplicating the highway will ensure safer and more reliable journeys for almost 13,000 road users who use the Barton Highway daily.
The new highway is expected to have a 100 km/h speed limit, making journeys more efficient for motorists and the freight industry.
Jeir resident Sophie Wade was instrumental in lobbying the government to duplicate the Barton Highway and started the ‘Duplicate the Barton Highway’ community action group in 2013.
She said she “felt a sense of relief” knowing that the duplication had begun.
“It shows how important it is to stand up for what you believe in,” she said.
Eventually, the Barton Highway will be duplicated from Hall to the existing dual carriageway on the Hume Highway, bypassing Murrumbateman.
The Federal and NSW Governments have committed to completing the full duplication, however, their commitment of $100 million so far isn’t enough to finish the project.
The estimated total cost to deliver the full duplication of the Barton Highway is around $1070 million, according to the Barton Highway Duplication Business Case.
Cr Abbey said she would continue to lobby the Federal Government for more funding to complete the project and had already begun discussions with Senator Molan for the Commonwealth to fund the entire project.
“We have been lobbying for this for as long as I can remember – and I’ve been in local government from 2004 – so there’s been a significant number of years to see this project begin and today you couldn’t wipe the smile off my face,” Mrs Tuckerman said.
“It’s certainly a huge milestone for the community who thought this day would never come.”
Stage two will duplicate the highway from Kaveneys Road to Gooda Creek Road; stage three will realign the highway and build two carriageways from Gooda Creek Road to Vallencia; stage four will build the Murrumbateman bypass from Vallencia Drive to the Gounyan Curves realignment; and stage five will connect the bypass to the Hume Highway.
The highway will become a southbound carriageway and new lanes will be northbound.
Original Article published by Hannah Sparks on The RiotACT.