New overtaking lanes and a surface upgrade of the Newell to counteract the challenging Forbes floodplain
Motorists travelling south of Forbes are driving on heavier duty and more weather resilient pavement after the completion of two new overtaking lanes as part of a project to improve safety, reduce travel times and improve freight efficiency along the Newell Highway.
Transport for NSW Acting Regional Director West Damien Pfeiffer said the project to build the northbound and southbound lanes at Gullifers Road, 20 kilometres south of Forbes, included constructing new pavement across the full width of the highway using material which is more durable.
“The type of soils which naturally occur in this region, known as Gilgai soils, expand and contract significantly when exposed to changes in moisture,” Mr Pfeiffer said.
“Considering the area surrounding Gullifers Road is a floodplain, these Gilgai soils have the potential to accelerate pavement deterioration due to increased cracking and roughness.
“To minimise this deterioration, our project team applied 600 tonnes of a heavy bound base pavement, which is essentially a cement-based gravel pavement, sourced locally from Regional Quarries in Forbes.
“The pavement will maintain reliability of the Newell Highway in this area by making it more resilient to wet weather and flood events and reduce future maintenance costs.
“These two overtaking lanes are the only lanes of the 38 in total that have been delivered over four years to receive this special treatment in response to the unique challenges that exist in weather-proofing road infrastructure in this part of the west.”
Work at Gullifers Road started in May 2021 and through effective traffic management measures, motorists experienced delays of less than five minutes during construction.
“Our team working on the Gullifers Road overtaking lanes, along with the overtaking lane project at nearby Daroobalgie, was quickly mobilised to provide urgent repairs to the Billabong Creek Bridge in Parkes which was significantly damaged due to flooding in 2022,” Mr Pfeiffer said.
“They were also part of crews established to conduct urgent pothole repairs and heavy patching works in the Forbes area due to wet weather events.
“We’re proud to say our Gullifers Road team not only contributed to maintaining critical road connections throughout the 2022 flood events but have now delivered their project and produced about three kilometres of additional overtaking lanes on the Newell Highway.”
Motorists can expect to see some ongoing activity at the site until mid-December as finishing work and line-marking is completed, weather permitting.
The pair of overtaking lanes is part of the Newell Highway Program Alliance’s jointly funded project to deliver 38 overtaking lanes – equating to about 60 kilometres of new road - over four years between Tocumwal and Narrabri.
Motorists travelling the length of the Newell Highway between Victoria and Queensland and using these new overtaking lanes are set to save about 30 minutes of driving time.
More information is available on the Transport for NSW website.