NSW Roads, Maritime and Freight Minister Melinda Pavey said the upgrade is targeted at improving efficiency and safety on the highway.
“Along with reducing congestion, this major road upgrade has improved capacity for freight movements, better caters for the mix of traffic with the inclusion of footpaths and cycle paths and accommodates the planned and future development needs of the local community,” she said.
The new four-lane divided road, with a central concrete median, was widened from west of Stockland Drive intersection to east of Ashworth Drive near the Gold Panner Motor Inn.
“New shoulder and parking lanes have been provided on both sides of the highway while the intersections have been upgraded with traffic lights, right turn bays and roundabouts. A new wider bridge also has been built across Boyd Creek,” said Mrs. Pavey.
Member for Bathurst Paul Toole said more than a thousand people worked on the project which was completed three months ahead of schedule despite some challenges, including 106 days of wet weather.
“While 138 trees had to be removed to make way for the project, it is a point of pride that work has begun to plant more than 600 trees to replace these, along with 4000 shrubs and 8000 groundcover plants.”
Planning for the project was estimated at $85 million. However, the final $104 million actual cost was due to difficulties with relocating all of the utilities on the site, additional landscaping and soil remediation. More than 69,000 cubic metres of earth was moved to make way for 32,188 tonnes of concrete and 20,822 tonnes of asphalt.