Funding flows to finish NSW’s Bolivia Hill upgrade

The Australian Government has unlocked almost $43 million in new funding to finish the Bolivia Hill upgrade in New South Wales.

The extra funding raises the Australian Government commitment to the project from $55 million to almost $98 million.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the funding boost would meet the design and delivery challenges identified after construction started in 2018.

“With the increase in Australian Government funding secured, we can now get on with the job of making this stretch of road safer for all road users,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.

“Investing in crucial local projects such as this is what we are doing across Australia under our record $110 billion infrastructure investment plan, which is laying the foundations for economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.”

NSW Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Paul Toole said the NSW Government had also increased its funding commitment to the Bolivia Hill upgrade by $10.74 million.

“This takes the total NSW Government commitment from $25 million to nearly $36 million, building on our vision for a safer, stronger regional NSW,” Minister Toole said.

“This is a project that’s driving jobs in the region, strengthening the local economy and getting people and freight to their destinations sooner and safer.”

Federal Member for New England Barnaby Joyce said the treatments to Bolivia Hill would significantly improve road safety between Glen Innes and Tenterfield, complementing other investments on the New England Highway such as the $700 million Singleton Bypass, the $137 million Scone Bypass and the $4.2 million Armidale Airport Roundabout.

“The existing highway has a poor crash history owing to narrow lanes and road shoulders, a rock face on one side of the highway and a steep rock valley on the other,” Mr Joyce said.

“The upgrade will save lives and boost productivity within the region-a win-win for motorists and the area’s businesses alike.

“This has been a long term project not only for the north of the New England but for the whole New England Highway. I am so glad that after a long battle on your behalf we are delivering.”

State Member for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall said the project had faced some challenges due to the steep terrain and bushfires in the area, so it was great to see it powering ahead thanks to additional funding because it would be a game-changer for locals.

“This upgrade will not only improve road safety and deliver more productive, efficient and reliable journeys, but also minimise the impact on the natural and cultural environment,” Mr Marshall said.

Since construction started in 2018, additional geotechnical investigations revealed suitable strength rock was below the design founding levels. This meant the original abutment foundation designs and configuration of the retaining wall needed to be re-designed to suit the site conditions.

The project is jointly funded with the Australian Government committing $97.96 million and the NSW Government $35.74 million.

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