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Issued by the Department of Transport and Regional Services

5 June 2001


Working with the Federal Department of Transport and Regional Services (DOTARS), the Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA) has commenced preliminary work on the upgrading of the Hume Highway on the Mittagong Bypass.

The south and northbound lanes will be re-built and two new three-lane bridges constructed on this major interstate road corridor as a result of geological changes that have damaged the road surface and surrounding region over time.

To maintain travel conditions for the 16,000 vehicles using this section of the highway every day, the RTA will receive an initial $6 million from the Federal Government to complete planning and to construct median cross-over lanes. These will allow traffic to switch between the north and southbound carriageways once construction of the bridges has commenced.

The crossovers will be located near the Nattai River and Gibbergunyah Creek bridges and are expected to take two months to build.

During construction, lane restrictions will be in place in the area from 7am to 6pm Mondays to Fridays and from 8am to 1pm on Saturdays.

"In recent years, engineers have detected a subsidence in the road caused by the unique geology of the area. However, the current rate of ground movement is extremely slow and presents no short-term risk," an RTA spokesperson said.

"The area has a very complex geological history, including mining activity at the adjacent Mount Alexandra Coal Mine from the 1950s to the 1970s.

"To ensure the highway continues to provide high standard travel conditions, work on the crossovers has commenced, with construction of the bridges expected to begin later in the year for completion by the end of 2002."

The RTA expects to let a contract for the bridge works in October. The twin three-lane bridges will be supported by concrete pylons sunk 10 metres into the bedrock and protected from possible future earth movement by steel casings.

The southbound bridge will be built first and then operate temporarily as a single carriageway road carrying traffic in both directions during construction of the second bridge.

"The Hume Highway is Australia's most important interstate road artery, with funding for improvements and maintenance a Federal Government responsibility," a Department of Transport and Regional Services spokesperson said.

"Accordingly, the cost of the new bridges will be fully funded by the Federal Government.

"Both the Federal Department and the RTA are working to ensure this essential road route is upgraded quickly and with minimal inconvenience to the travelling public.

Media contacts: DTRS - Brian O'Connor (02) 6274 7290
  RTA - Simon Rushton (02) 9218 6142
Transport Regional Development Territories of Australia Local Government The Department