State urged to fast track M1 upgrade plans

FUNDING: National MP David Gillespie has been resolute that the NSW government needs to fast track their planning and EIS so work on the M1 upgrade can begin. Picture: Supplied
FUNDING: National MP David Gillespie has been resolute that the NSW government needs to fast track their planning and EIS so work on the M1 upgrade can begin. Picture: Supplied

The NSW government is being urged to fast track their planning and environmental impact statement (EIS) so work on the much anticipated M1 upgrade from Hexham to Raymond Terrace can begin.

Federal Member for Lyne David Gillespie last week told parliament a new phase of investment was required into the Pacific Highway and that it was time the state government stepped up to the plate.

"The sooner we get that commitment, the sooner we can plan here at the federal level. I urge all those people in the planning in NSW," the Nationals MP said.

"We need a rock-solid commitment so that we can move onto the next phase of the Pacific Highway upgrade, and that is ironing out all these dangerous intersections, with no more logjams for seven or eight kilometres on long weekends, reducing fatalities, increasing safety, increasing productivity and having an intersection-free way into the Tomago industrial area and into the Newcastle Airport.

"We are waiting on the state to complete the planning for new overpasses and interchanges at major intersections including Medowie Road, Italia Road and the Bucketts Way so that the next phase of the Pacific Highway upgrade program can proceed."

A Transport for NSW spokesperson said that a draft corridor strategy completed by the department had highlighted the significant safety improvements that the Pacific Highway upgrade and had identified potential opportunities for future improvements to cater for regional growth areas.

"This includes upgrades for a number of locations on the highway including the intersections with Bucketts Way, Italia Road and Medowie Road. Investigations are being carried out to identify and develop the most appropriate treatment to improve safety at all these intersections."

Mr Gillespie said that increased traffic flows and several fatal accidents in recent years at the intersections had warranted the increased investment by federal and state governments.

"With completion of the upgrade to four lanes along the entire route of the Pacific Highway, and planning in its final stage for the M1 extension to Raymond Terrace, it's now time to begin planning the next phase."

Mr Gillespie said that the 2019-20 Federal Budget had allocated $1.6 billion towards the project which would see funding contributions each year between 2021-22 and 2027-28. "Timing for construction is not confirmed and is subject to approvals."

He said he would be raising the issue with the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and the NSW Minister for Regional Roads.

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