The New South Wales Government has chosen a preferred route for its $500 million upgrade of the Newell Highway Bypass, an important freight corridor at Parkes in central NSW.

New South Wales Minister for Roads and Freight, Duncan Gay, and Parliamentary Secretary for Western NSW, Sarah Mitchell, met with the community and local council to discuss the route, which would see a new 10.5km section of the highway built north of Parkes, near Maguire Road, reconnecting south of the town near Barkers Road.

A new bridge will also be built across the Parkes-Broken Hill railway line, allowing freight trains travelling the line to haul double-stacked containers.

“The Newell Highway is the backbone for communities in country NSW and that’s why we’re investing half-a-billion-dollars to deliver important upgrades along its entire length from Tocumwal to Boggabilla,” Mr Gay said.

“In 2014, the then local member for Parkes Troy Grant and the community told us a bypass of the highway would be vital for the future of the shire and we are today delivering the concept design for the new bypass,” Mr Gay said.

Mrs Mitchell said the announcement of the preferred route was an important step in delivering the bypass and would be on display for community feedback.

“This design builds on Parkes Shire Council’s previous western ring road proposal and would improve traffic flow and would reduce the number of trucks travelling through Parkes town centre,” Mrs Mitchell said.

“Simply upgrading the existing route was not an option due to the risk to pedestrian safety, properties which would need to be acquired, impacts to access on remaining properties and to the heritage railway station.”

$50 million has been reserved for the Parkes Bypass as part of the New South Wales Government’s Rebuilding NSW program.

The preferred route will be open for consultation between 8 December 2016 and 10 February 2017.

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