Firm appointed to study Lower Hunter transport needs

By: Jason Whittaker

Hyder Consulting has been appointed to conduct a study of the transport needs of the Lower Hunter region in New

Hyder Consulting has been appointed to conduct a study of the transport needs of the Lower Hunter region in New South Wales following a public tender process.

The Australian and NSW Governments have jointly committed $1 million for the study.

Federal Infrastructure and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese says the study will be an important step in developing strategies for improving the road network and reducing traffic congestion between and beyond the major Lower Hunter centres of Maitland, Cessnock and Singleton.

"The Rudd Labor Government is determined to find practical, affordable and long-term solution to the region’s transport needs," he says.

NSW Minister for Roads, Eric Roozendaal, says the study will identify land transport strategies that can meet passenger and freight needs over the next 25 years, in particular, the need to improve access to the region from Newcastle and the F3.

"The study will identify potential proposals to deliver on these strategies and assess the relative benefits of each proposal," he says.

Hyder will also conduct an independent review of the existing cost estimate for the F3 to Branxton proposal.

A Council Reference Group will be established to ensure there is appropriate consultation with key local stakeholders. The group will include representatives of Maitland, Cessnock and Singleton Councils and the NSW Department of Planning.

"Community consultation will be held with a wide range of local stakeholders and their input will be sought at workshops," Roozenadaal says.

The study report will be completed by November 15 for submission to the respective Ministers and subsequently to Infrastructure Australia.

A study website will be established to ensure stakeholders have access to the terms of reference, key reference documents and study updates.

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