The imbroglio that is the area around Beresford, Hexham and Raymond Terrace, which has long been the bane of  every truck operator running through the Hunter or up and down the Pacific Hwy around Newcastle is set to see some relief with the announcement that contractors have now been appointed  for the M1 Pacific Highway -Raymond Terrace extension.

The John Holland/Gamuda Joint Venture and Seymour Whyte Constructions will undertake the work, with the the 10-kilometre southern section that extends from Black Hill on the current Pacific Motorway south of Berrefield to Tomago just south of Raymond Terrace to be handled by the Holland/Gamuda joint venture, whileSeymour Whyte Constructions will build the five-kilometre northern section  from Tomato bypassing  Heatherbrae and Raymond Terrace.

The project will see twin bridges across the flood plains/ wetlands to the east of the current motorway and the Beresfield intersection, with new twin bridges across the Hunter River, Main North Railway and current New England Highway and then across land to the west of the current Pacific Hwy at Tomago. it will then link with the new Heatherbrae bypass to the east of the town and the current highway alignment to link with the Pacific Motorway north of Raymond Terrace.

According to the NSW government the M1 Pacific Motorway extension will significantly reduce traffic volumes on the New England Highway which in turn will improve traffic flow and access for motorists travelling between Newcastle and Maitland.

“The M1 at Hexham is the last bottleneck on the Pacific highway between Sydney and Brisbane,” said Meryl Swanson, the federal member for  the seat of Paterson, which surrounds the project area.

“This critical work will ensure thousands of vehicles keep moving, not only north/south but also locals travelling back and forth from Maitland and Newcastle,” said ms Swanson.

The vital project is a major blockage to the free flow of traffic, particularly around holiday seasons, but which increasingly is costing time and money throughout various times of the year.

The Beresfield-Raymond Terrace bypass will along with the important Coffs Harbour by pass  are the last pieces of infrastructure needed to bring a seamless motorway corridor between Sydney and Brisbane and both are now set to be finalised by 2028, which should give freight traffic light free passage the two important capitals

The New South Wales Government recently announced refinements to the  Coffs Harbour bypass, and a recent visit by T&B News to the area revealed that the initial preparation work has already begun , clearing the way for construction proper to begin in March.

Transport for NSW says that the overall design, including the planned tunnels, hasn’t changed but that refinements will affect the Englands Road, Coramba Road and Korora Hill interchanges.

Federal Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government Minister Catherine King said the design changes were minor but will improve traffic flow with  road users set to avoid 12 sets of traffic lights through Coffs Harbour

NSW Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Sam Farraway adds that once the Coffs Harbour bypass and the M1 to Raymond Terrace projects are complete, road users will be able to travel between Sydney and Brisbane and not encounter a single traffic light.

The $2.1 billion M1 Pacific Motorway Extension to Raymond Terrace project  is being jointly funded  by both the Australian and NSW governments on an 80:20 basis, with the Commonwealth paying the lions share.

The  overall cost of the  Coffs Harbour Bypass project is  budgeted at  $2.2 billion and is also being jointly funded, with $1.76 billion from the Federal Government and $440 million from the State Government.

The planned opening of the Coffs Harbour bypass is scheduled  for late 2026 and  is hoped to be fully completed by 2027, while the Raymond Terrace extension is expected to be finished by 2028.