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Old June 13th, 2011, 07:36 AM   #1
lowey
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Old June 13th, 2011, 07:43 AM   #2
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Article from Business World Australia

http://www.businessworld-australia.c...er-expressway/

Project of the Month: The Hunter Expressway

The Hunter Expressway is a new four-lane expressway in New South Wales, stretching between the F3 Freeway near Seahampton and the New England Highway west of Branxton. The project is the longest stretch of Pacific Highway to be constructed as one project. It’s worth $1.7 billion, with $1.5 billion invested by the Australian Government and a further $200 million contributed by the NSW Government.

The expressway is to be constructed under two contracts: the 13 kilometre eastern section (from the F3 Freeway to Kurri Kurri) is to be built under an alliance contract and the 27 kilometre western section (Kurri Kurri to Branxton) is to be built under a design and construct contract.

The alliance building the eastern section includes the Roads & Traffic Authority of Australia, construction contractor Thiess Pty, Ltd, construction management organization Parsons Brinckerhoff and engineering consulting firm Hyder Consulting. Construction on this section commenced in August 2010.

Also in 2010, Abigroup Contractors was awarded the contract to design and construct the western section (in conjunction with the RTA). Major construction on this section began in early 2011.

The complete 40 kilometres of dual carriageway freeway is scheduled to be completed and open to traffic at the end of 2013.

Thiess, who will be working on the expressway’s eastern section, has successfully completed a number of recent major road projects for the RTA, including the Five Islands Road Upgrade and Karuah Bypass. They have high hopes for this project too, especially for the benefits that it will reap.

“The Hunter Expressway will help to meet the needs of the regions growing freight movement by providing a more direct and efficient route for freight between the Upper Hunter and the Port of Newcastle,” says David Saxelby, Thiess Managing Director. “This project will be significant for the Hunter region and its continued economic development. We are delighted that our team has been recognised as having the right vision, necessary experience, capabilities, understanding, innovative approach and commitment to work with the NSW Roads and Traffic Authority.”

In February of this year, Hunter MP Joel Fitzgibbon inspected the work on the project’s western section, which is Abigroup Contractor turf.

“Abigroup’s work includes building a number of fauna fences, underpasses, and heavy vehicle rest areas located to the west of Branxton, for both eastbound and westbound traffic,” Fitzgibbon says.

“Reduced travel time will be another benefit for motorists travelling south to Sydney who will be able to travel at 110 kilometres an hour on the divided, dual-carriageway expressway to the F3 Freeway,” he continues.

For Fitzgibbon, and the Hunter region, the Expressway is a lot more than a highway – it’s the culmination of the community’s twenty-year campaign for better road infrastructure.

The Hunter Expressway will provide six interchanges along its route to service local communities. These interchanges will be located at the F3 Freeway, Buchanan, Kurri, Loxford, Allandale, and Branxton. Additionally, the project will provide traffic relief to the New England Highway between Weakleys Drive and Branxton – in fact, according to projected traffic levels, the expressway might potentially reduce between 15,000 and 30,000 vehicles on the highway per day.

The new and more direct route will also relieve congestion between the Rutherford, Maitland, and Thonton regions. Travel time between Newcastle and Hunter will be cut by an estimated 28 minutes. Travel time between Newcastle and Branxton will also take a hit – in a good way. Faster travel times, after all, mean lower costs for all road users.

In general, the new Hunter Expressway will improve the efficiency of the national travel network by providing a more efficient and direct route for freight movements between the Upper Hunter and the Port of Newcastle – this is good, because like David Saxelby said, both the Hunter region, and the freight task of the region, is growing. The expressway will also reduce the number of heavy vehicles travelling on the New England Highway through towns such as Branxton and Maitland.

Other key features of the Hunter Expressway project include 53 bridges, $20 million of adjustments to utility services, and a one-kilometre reconstruction of the South Maitland railway, which will include a new railway bridge.

Last but definitely not least, the project will be ecologically friendly. In 2001, the Hunter Expressway received planning approval, but the conditions of that approval required the RTA to reduce its ecological impact. To satisfy those conditions, the RTA modified its design to avoid the clearing of native vegetation, including endangered ecological communities. To achieve this, the Hunter Expressway realigned its design through the Sugarloaf Range, and will construct 840 metres worth of large, high bridges over deep gullies.
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Old June 13th, 2011, 07:54 AM   #3
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my mate seems to be having trouble postin pics and stuff any mods out there can you help him
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Old June 13th, 2011, 10:32 AM   #4
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Oh well, seeing as there's a thread we may as well have the background info:

http://www.rta.nsw.gov.au/roadprojec...way/index.html
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Old June 13th, 2011, 01:51 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dirtdigger View Post
The project is the longest stretch of Pacific Highway to be constructed as one project. It’s worth $1.7 billion, with $1.5 billion invested by the Australian Government and a further $200 million contributed by the NSW Government.
Wouldn't have though a highway linking the F3 with the New England highway would be considered part of the Pacific Highway. Or am I missing something?
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Old June 13th, 2011, 02:04 PM   #6
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Been trying to get this thread up and running for the past week but things seemed to get knocked back with approvals for a few days. Maps and diagrams etc. Bit odd. Maybe multiples of content posted will show up in coming days.

I wouldn't consider it as part of the Pacific Highway either. I'm thinking the article has that bit wrong. However the article gave a good lowdown. Bit more than the RTA site.
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Old June 13th, 2011, 04:27 PM   #7
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Definitely not a Pacific Highway extension, it's more a New England Highway bypass. It will be interesting to see if it assumes the NH15 delegation once it opens...
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Old June 14th, 2011, 03:36 AM   #8
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Quote:
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I wouldn't consider it as part of the Pacific Highway either. I'm thinking the article has that bit wrong. However the article gave a good lowdown. Bit more than the RTA site.
No doubt about that, was an interesting read. My old man, who lives up that way was talking to it about me a few weeks back, and to be honest having not lived in the area for 33 years I had no idea what he was talking about.
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Old June 14th, 2011, 03:49 AM   #9
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my mate seems to be having trouble postin pics and stuff any mods out there can you help him
http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=761886
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Old June 14th, 2011, 08:49 AM   #10
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The scale of the project, larger than the Westlink M7 in Sydney, shows how big it is, but maybe its location has it some what hidden. Still surprises me to think it will aim to remove the bottlenecks around Maitland and Thornton.

I travelled the route on a weekend and I must note it wasn't in peak hour, but how necessary is the new road? I know i have become a skeptic of the project... big price to pay; but that in mind, its creating jobs in the area and producing impressive construction techniques. Plus, its toll free, something you will never see on a project of this size in the metro area.
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Old June 14th, 2011, 09:01 AM   #11
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Branxton Interchange Simulation from the Newcastle Herald


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Old June 14th, 2011, 09:11 AM   #12
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That video appeared to answer my previous question - the signage gives it M15 delegation, with B82 for Wine Country Drive.
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Old June 14th, 2011, 01:11 PM   #13
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M15 is precisely what I'd expect.

Whether M15/A15 is extended into the Newcastle Inner Bypass is a more curious question. So is whether the route to old New England Highway route to Maitland will get a route number.
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Old June 14th, 2011, 01:14 PM   #14
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A UK style interchange too with a big roundabout on top.
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Old June 14th, 2011, 06:02 PM   #15
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I typed a long response to this in a quick reply, but it vanished when I tried to go to advanced. :-(

RTA information, including diagrams of all interchanges:
http://www.rta.nsw.gov.au/roadprojec...way/index.html

Wikipedia article:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hunter_Expressway
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Old June 15th, 2011, 05:30 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dirtdigger View Post
The scale of the project, larger than the Westlink M7 in Sydney, shows how big it is, but maybe its location has it some what hidden. Still surprises me to think it will aim to remove the bottlenecks around Maitland and Thornton.

I travelled the route on a weekend and I must note it wasn't in peak hour, but how necessary is the new road? I know i have become a skeptic of the project... big price to pay; but that in mind, its creating jobs in the area and producing impressive construction techniques. Plus, its toll free, something you will never see on a project of this size in the metro area.
Two major benefits from this project:

- Those in Newcastle that work in the western coalfields can bypass the Maitland area;
- Improved access to the Hunter Valley Vineyards from the south (bypass of Cessnock).
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Old June 15th, 2011, 06:33 AM   #17
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Expressway alignment at Mount Vincent Road off John Renshaw drive looking west.

[IMG][/IMG]
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Old June 15th, 2011, 06:35 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajw373 View Post
A UK style interchange too with a big roundabout on top.
Not many of them in Australia - there is one on the Princes Highway at Albion Park for New Lake Entrance Road going east and the super-2 type road going west.
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Old June 15th, 2011, 06:46 AM   #19
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Quote:
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Two major benefits from this project:

- Those in Newcastle that work in the western coalfields can bypass the Maitland area;
- Improved access to the Hunter Valley Vineyards from the south (bypass of Cessnock).
There's a lot more to it than that.

There are several places along the existing New England Hwy that operate at or beyond capacity for a period of an hour or more, once or twice every week day.

I'll give a couple of examples. At Branxton, there is a queue southbound every afternoon, which extends from the lights in the middle of town all the way onto the dual carriageway Belford Bends deviation (which the expressway will tie into). The roundabouts at the middle and northern ends of the Maitland bypass operate at or beyond capacity for over an hour every morning and afternoon.

There are several "rat running routes" that avoid Maitland, and they are also very busy. Examples include the B-doubles and semis that go through Cessnock both ways between the F3 near Freemans Waterholes and the New England Hwy at Branxton, and the George Booth Drive - John Renshaw Drive - Sawyers Gully - Majors Lane - Camp Rd route from the F3 to Greta.

The expressway will be 5km further than the Cessnock route, but will be a lot quicker and more economical because of the free flowing traffic conditions. It will be shorter than all of the other rat runs, and than the existing highway through Maitland. The traffic moving onto it instead of the other routes will alleviate the need for other road improvements, and significantly reduce traffic on the rat runs, improving local amenity.

The Pacific Hwy between Hexham and Sandgate also operates at or beyond capacity in the morning and afternoon peaks, and the expressway will redirect some of that traffic onto the Newcastle Link Rd, coming into Wallsend instead. The RTA are planning on capacity improvements to the route from Wallsend to Broadmeadow to allow for this.

Overdimension vehicle movements are also an issue on the existing highway. Whereas vehicles 2 lanes wide can travel on the F3 in the early hours of the morning, Harpers Hill between Lochinvar and Greta is an accident blackspot and large overdimension movements are only permitted during daylight hours between morning and afternoon peaks, meaning that they travel between Beresfield and Belford in the middle of the day, disrupting other traffic. The expressway will allow these to move in early mornings instead. This might sound minor, but there are a lot of such movements of mining equipment as well as small numbers of houses, earthmoving machines, etc.

I could go on but that'll do for now.
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Old June 15th, 2011, 06:52 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by roofromoz View Post
Not many of them in Australia - there is one on the Princes Highway at Albion Park for New Lake Entrance Road going east and the super-2 type road going west.
The Newcastle Inner City Bypass has one at University Drive, and another inverted one (freeway over roundabout) with the roundabout strangled in the middle to an almost figure-8 shape at Hillsborough Rd.

Of the 6 interchanges on the Hunter Expressway, 3 will be of this type - Buchanan, Kurri Kurri and Branxton.
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