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Hume highway 'missing link' next priority



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M r Bob Brown Minister for Land Transport

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21 May 1991

HUME HIGHWAY 'MISSING LINK» NEXT PRIORITY

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An 18 km section of the existing Hume Highway between the end of the Cullarin Range Deviation and the start of the Yass Bypass will be the next major priority in a $1.5 billion conversion of the highway to a four-lane divided road.

Conceptual design estimates for the new work put its cost in 1991 prices at $75 million, but this figure was subject to change as detailed planning continued, Federal Land Transport Minister, Bob Brown, said today.

1 Upgrading of the section will proceed after completion of bypasses at Yass, Cullarin Range, Goulburn and Mittagong1, Mr Brown said.

The Minister made the announcement during an inspection of the $151 million Cullarin Range Deviation construction site, south of Goulburn in southern New South Wales.

The 32 km Cullarin Range Deviation is the largest single Federal Government road project in the current $4000 million national roads program.

1A start on upgrading the new 18 km milestone section will be made after 1993-94. Its completion will mark the fact that the Hume Highway in New South Wales will be upgraded to continuous four-lane divided highway standard

for almost 300 km from Yass to Sydney1, Mr Brown said.

1 Almost all the Hume Highway in Victoria is built to four-lane standard and sections of the highway in southern NSW will be upgraded progressively as the Federal Government moves closer to its goal of making the Hume a four-lane freeway for its entire length between Sydney and Melbourne1.

Mr Brown said federally-funded projects worth more than $700 million were under way on the Hume Highway.

The Minister is inspecting progress on the works while driving much of the road himself and experiencing its travelling conditions as a driver would.

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His journey started in Wangaratta yesterday and finishes tomorrow in Sydney.

The Cullarin Range Deviation, which eliminates a winding and slow section of the Hume Highway, is due to open to traffic in 1993-94.

Dry weather conditions in southern NSW have allowed contractors to proceed with earthworks and bridge construction unhindered by rain.

'The project is several months ahead of schedule1, Mr Brown said.

1 Earthworks for the first stage between Breadalbane and Lerida Creek will finish in August, five months in advance of the construction planning, while stage two is likely to finish in April 1992.

'Work is under way at the 20 bridge sites along the length of the deviation', Mr Brown said.

'The drought and the fragile nature of the soils locally has required the application of stringent soil conservation measures on the Cullarin Range project.

'In keeping with Federal Government environment protection requirements, the local habitat of the migrating Japanese Ibis will not be affected by the design of the new deviation'.

Mr Brown said much of the Federal Government's financial contribution to the construction of the Cullarin Range Deviation ($151 million) and bypasses at Yass ($110 million), Goulburn ($98 million) and Mittagong ($97 million) was filtering through to the local economy.

'These projects and the many other road infrastructure developments being financed by the Federal Government throughout the country represent the best possible job- creation investment for Australia's future.

'This financial year, the Federal Government will spend $1.6 billion on land transport initiatives', he said.

Media contact: Brian Hill (06) 277 7440 (w)