Life in the faster lane with 38 new overtaking lanes now open on the Newell Highway


The completion of 38 new overtaking lanes along the full length of the Newell Highway will deliver faster, safer, and more reliable journeys for residents, tourists and freight operators travelling in regional NSW.
The overtaking lanes have been completed as part of a four-year project to build about 60 kilometres of new overtaking lanes between Tocumwal in the south of the state and Narrabri in the north.
Eight of the new overtaking lanes have been built in the Pilliga, between Coonabarabran and Narrabri. They are now open at:

  • Pilliga, about 15 kilometres north of Coonabarabran.
  • Dandry, about 30 kilometres north of Coonabarabran.
  • Near the Pilliga Rest Area, about 63 kilometres north of Coonabarabran.
  • Near the Sir William Bridges Rest Area, about 24 kilometres south of Narrabri.

The Australian Government contributed $60 million toward 19 of the overtaking lanes.
More information on the Newell Highway overtaking lanes is available at

Federal Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government Minister Catherine King said:
“The four Pilliga sites had been selected to maximise safety, efficiency and value for money.
“Building overtaking lanes in pairs, as we’ve been able to do through the Pilliga, means we can maximise efficiencies in terms of the environmental and geotechnical investigations we carry out at each site, establishing one site compound instead of two and savings in terms of construction time and traffic control.
“With all eight overtaking lanes now completed, road users have an extra 12 kilometres of overtaking opportunities between Coonabarabran and Narrabri.”
NSW Regional Transport and Roads Minister Jenny Aitchison said:
“The Newell Highway Program Alliance (NHPA) – a strategic partnership between Transport for NSW, BMD and AECOM to ensure a swift and innovative mode of delivery – represented a $236.8 million investment in regional NSW by the Australian and NSW governments, with a focus on safety.
“The NHPA was created in 2019 to deliver the 38 additional overtaking lanes in four years instead of the likely eight years it would have taken to fund and deliver this work using traditional procurement methods. 
“As well as new overtaking lanes, the NHPA has also delivered six road safety improvements along sections of the Highway including wider shoulders and centre lines to reduce off-road and head-on crashes, and the installation of audio tactile line marking (rumble strips) on the edges and centre of the highway.
“Most of the new overtaking lanes are at least 1.5 kilometres long with the longest overtaking lane – at Tap Hill north of Gilgandra, measuring almost four times that. The 5.7-kilometre giant new lane was formed by closing the gap between two existing northbound overtaking lanes.
“Long distances are a fact of life in rural and regional NSW and the safety of all road users is our number one priority.
“The incredible work completed on the Newell Highway over the past four years will ensure more road users make it home safely to their family and friends.”
State Member for Barwon Roy Butler said:
“This is a significant improvement in safety along the Newell Highway. It also means a significant reduction in time for people using the road. 
“This will translate to savings for people who travel regularly along the highway, also lowering costs for people transporting produce or livestock along that route.
“It is good to see the government making such an investment in the safety and convenience of regional people and we look forward to seeing more projects like this, designed to increase safety and cut travel times.”