Bypass plans progressing with contract awarded for concept design and environmental assessment

Since the events of October 11, when George Street was closed due to a critical incident, many in the community have been calling on the State Government to act immediately on the design and construction of the town’s bypass.

One of the main concerns arsing from the October event, when a semi-trailer was allegedly stolen from Murrurundi and driven south on the New England Highway until the truck’s tyres were spiked by police at the railway underpass which saw the truck eventually come to a fiery end after colliding with a number of vehicles in George Street, was the dangers posed from increasing numbers of heavy vehicles using the thoroughfare.

Last week Member for Upper Hunter, Michael Johnsen, announced planning for the future New England bypass of Singleton was progressing well.

With the latest development being the awarding of a contract to AECOM to complete the concept design and environmental assessment for the project.

GATHERING: December 2016 Michael Johnsen, Bob Keown and Ruth Rogers look at the map of the preferred option for the future New England Highway bypass of Singleton.

GATHERING: December 2016 Michael Johnsen, Bob Keown and Ruth Rogers look at the map of the preferred option for the future New England Highway bypass of Singleton.

WRONG WAY: Clare and Maurice Butler are dismayed at the RMS's preferred option for the Singleton bypass. They say it could result in more not less traffic accidents.

WRONG WAY: Clare and Maurice Butler are dismayed at the RMS's preferred option for the Singleton bypass. They say it could result in more not less traffic accidents.

This comes after the preferred route was announced in late 2016, a decision which left many Whittingham residents unimpressed.

At the time they told The Argus it did nothing to alleviate the already dangerous stretch of New England Highway along the Whittingham flats.

They also expressed their concerns about the area being flood prone, and questioned why their prime agricultural land was being sacrificed when other routes existed.

The controversial option involves building a new section of highway west of Singleton starting near Newington Lane and rejoining the New England Highway north of McDougalls Hill.

Mr Johnsen says with the contract now awarded, work will start on survey and geotechnical investigations as well as environmental studies.

“Feedback from our local Singleton community will of course be invited when the concept design and environmental assessment are prepared,” he explains.

“The upgrade would involve building nine kilometres of new highway including a potential 3.1 kilometre bridge over the Main Northern Railway, Doughboy Hollow and Hunter River floodplains.”

Further information about the New England Highway bypass of Singleton project is available online.