The long-awaited Barton Highway duplication project begins as the sod has been turned on the first stage of the project.
The duplication aims to improve safety on a road, reduce travel time and increase freight productivity for the 13,000 motorists who use the corridor every day.
Yass Valley Council Mayor Rowena Abbey called it a "momentous day for our community and that for southern region.
"It's long-awaited and long overdue. To finally see work commencing on the actual duplication rather than just safety improvement is very important to our community," Cr Abbey said.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the Australian Government had committed a further $100 million towards extended duplication works under the Roads of Strategic Importance initiative.
"This $100 million Federal Government injection complements the initial investment of $50 million from both the Australian and New South Wales Governments towards the Barton Highway Upgrade project," the Deputy Prime Minister said.
"The Barton Highway is a crucial part of the NSW and ACT transport network, connecting communities to essential services, employment, healthcare, education opportunities and integral freight movement."
NSW Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Paul Toole said the first stage of the project will be delivered by the Barton Highway Upgrade Alliance, with contractors Seymour Whyte Constructions and SMEC partnering with Transport for NSW.
"The first stage of the project is expected to support about 80 jobs, getting Australians back to work in these challenging times and supporting the local economy," Mr Toole said.
"Early works will involve site establishment and utility relocation work, with major works to build what will ultimately be new northbound lanes from the ACT border to Kaveneys Road to start early in 2021."
Meanwhile, Senator for New South Wales Jim Molan said the highway duplication work had been prioritised to start from Hall.
"This section was identified as the priority for duplication as it has higher traffic volumes and a higher crash rate than other sections, which will be upgraded in later stages of this project," Senator Molan said.
"The upgrade will also meet growing transport demands, ease congestion approaching Canberra and improve safety for through, local and tourist traffic along the corridor."
State Member for Goulburn Wendy Tuckerman said the start of works followed a number of smaller projects, including safety upgrades to intersections and bus stops and the installation of a $3.25 million intelligent transport system.
"The new highway is also expected to have a 100 km/h speed limit, making journeys more efficient for motorists and the freight industry," Mrs Tuckerman said.
The initial stage of duplication is expected to be completed late 2021.
For more information about the project visit here.
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