Construction underway on Hexham Straight as drilling begins on M1 extension

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Work has begun on the congestion-busting Hexham Straight project as the 15-kilometre M1 Pacific Motorway extension to Raymond Terrace progresses to geotechnical drilling ahead of major construction later this year.

The Australian and NSW governments welcomed the progress on both projects, which will end long-time traffic bottlenecks, get tens of thousands of vehicles off local roads and create thousands of jobs in the Hunter.

The Hexham Straight is expected to open to traffic in 2026 while the M1 Pacific Motorway extension to Raymond Terrace is on track to open in 2028.

The combined project cost is $2.1 billion, with the Australian Government contributing $1.68 billion and the NSW Government contributing $420 million.

Quotes attributable to Federal Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government Minister Catherine King:

“The Australian Government is committed to working with the NSW Government to deliver the safe and efficient road network people in the Hunter and beyond need and deserve.

“The Hexham Straight and M1 Pacific Motorway extension to Raymond Terrace will be major infrastructure links of national significance. 

“Extending the M1 will provide improved traffic flow and increased connectivity, while catering to strong population growth in the region.” 

Quotes attributable to NSW Roads Minister John Graham:

“The Hexham Straight Widening Project will transform travel around the Hunter by improving the connection between Newcastle and the New England Highway, M1 Motorway and the Pacific Highway.

“The project, which will transform a six-kilometre section from two lanes to three in each direction, will improve traffic flow for the 50,000 motorists and freight vehicles who use this route each day while also providing an economic boost in key employment areas around Greater Newcastle and the Port of Newcastle.

“The Hexham Straight Widening will provide about 750 jobs over its life cycle so it’s a very welcome milestone to see construction underway today. Add to that 1050 jobs during the estimated five years it will take to complete the M1 Motorway extension to Raymond Terrace and we are excited to see this construction-led economic boost for the Hunter beginning to happen.”

Quotes attributable to NSW Regional Transport and Roads Minister Jenny Aitchison:  

“It is great to see work on the 15-kilometre M1 Pacific Motorway extension to Raymond Terrace has progressed to geotechnical drilling ahead of the start of major construction.

“The Aboriginal heritage salvage is now complete, and geotechnical investigations are underway, with more than 100 boreholes to be drilled to determine soil conditions, and location of underground services like water and electricity.

“The M1 Motorway extension to Raymond Terrace is expected to create and support about 2,700 jobs during the estimated five years of construction, including employment for about 1,050 workers and about 1,650 indirect jobs with businesses supporting the work.

“The ‘missing link’ motorway extension will remove up to 25,000 vehicles a day from existing local roads.” 

Quotes attributable to Federal Member for Paterson Meryl Swanson:
 
“The delivery of this commitment on the Hexham Straight Widening will improve traffic flow for 50,000 motorists every day but also provide a generational boost in employment across Newcastle, Port Stephens and the wider Hunter.
 
“This project will improve transport efficiencies, provide around 750 jobs secure jobs over its life cycle, and the start of construction will be welcomed by every local.”

Quotes attributable to Federal Member for Hunter Dan Repacholi:

“This 15-kilometre, four-lane extension from Black Hill to Raymond Terrace will be a boost for the Hunter region and will mean no more bumper-to-bumper traffic queues for mums and dads taking the kids on a holiday road trip.

“I know Hunter locals who frequently travel this section of road are very much looking forward to this extension, making for a safer and faster journey.”