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Duval creek upgrade opened today.

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Sandy Macdonald The Nationals Senator for NSW Deputy Leader of The Nationals in the Senate 20 December 2004

Duval Creek upgrade opened today

The New England Highway will now be safer for motorists with the opening of a 1.5 km stretch of upgraded road at Duval Creek, 12 kilometres north of Armidale, NSW Senator Sandy Macdonald said today.

The Australian Government is spending a total of $35 million on the three safety improvements along the New England Highway - Duval Creek, Devils Pinch and Four Mile Creek, south of Tenterfield - and is planning a fourth at Sunnyside Road, near Armidale.

“Our aim is to maintain the New England Highway as a safe and viable alternative inland corridor to the Pacific Highway. Its status will be enhanced further once the F3 to Branxton link, bypassing Lower Hunter Valley towns, is built,” Senator Macdonald said.

“The $8.7 million Duval Creek realignment involves construction of a new wider bridge, on a better alignment that is expected to reduce the incidence of crashes at this location. The old bridge will be retained and used as a stock crossing.

Senator Macdonald praised the contractors, Cut and Fill Pty Ltd, for preserving the quality of water in Duval Creek during the 11 month construction phase.

“Earth mounds have been constructed between the highway and some adjacent properties and landscaped as part of the project. About 1000 new trees have been planted. The disused and bypassed section of highway will become a stand of 500 New England Peppermint trees, an endangered species,” he said.

Following discussion with locals, construction of a new intersection at Newholme and McCannas roads also incorporates a bus turning lane and bus shelter located off the highway. These facilities were the particular concern of parents whose children use the school bus.

Senator Macdonald has today also inspected work on the much larger $24.8 million Devils Pinch realignment south of Guyra. It is due to open to traffic in the first quarter of next year.

The Devils Pinch realignment involves upgrading approximately three kilometres of narrow highway through steep terrain subject to landslip. The work will skirt the landslip-prone area and would eliminate dips and curves. It included an additional northbound overtaking lane.

Further north near Tenterfield, the Australian Government is funding the $8.79 million bridge replacement at Four Mile Creek. That project will be completed early in 2006.

Under AusLink, the National Land Transport Plan, the Australian Government will pour $12.5 billion into Australia’s road and rail infrastructure over the five years 2004-05 to 2008-09.

Media Contact: Rachel Kingsford Smith 6766 6998 / 0427 570 506 www sandymacdonald com au