Work has started on two major upgrades on the M1 Pacific Motorway at Beresfield and between the Kariong and Somersby interchanges in New South Wales.

Federal Minister for Urban Infrastructure and Cities, Paul Fletcher, said the Australian and New South Wales Governments had jointly committed $391.6 million for the two upgrades, as well as the Tuggerah and Doyalson upgrade already underway.

“Currently, there are more than 70,000 light and heavy vehicles travelling on the M1 between the Hunter, Central Coast and Sydney daily, and with these numbers expected to increase, the M1 Pacific Motorway upgrades will tackle congestion and future-proof one of Australia’s busiest roads,” Mr Fletcher said.

New South Wales Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight, Melinda Pavey, said the upgrades at Weakleys Drive and John Renshaw Drive intersection at Beresfield would improve traffic flow and safety by expanding the intersection with additional lanes and new cycle lanes, and replacing the existing roundabout with traffic lights.

“The first stage of work involves the removal of traffic islands and infilling the roundabout, widening road shoulders and placing barriers, future proofing this key north-south corridor,” Ms Pavey said.

Federal Member for Robertson, Lucy Wicks, said work was also starting on the Kariong to Somersby interchanges upgrade, which would initially involve placing barriers, signage and line marking on the motorway to set up a safe work zone to prepare for the major upgrade.

“This is more good news for thousands of Central Coast commuters. We’re widening an eight-kilometre stretch of the M1 between the Somersby and Kariong interchanges, taking it from four lanes to six, and upgrading three of the four busy interchange ramps that’s the main access to and from the motorway to the Central Coast Highway and Gosford,” Ms Wicks said.

Major work is also progressing well between the Tuggerah and Doyalson interchanges, with the two northbound travel lanes across Wyong River returned to normal traffic arrangements following completion of work on the third northbound lane.

The upgrade at Beresfield is expected to be complete in 2019 and the remaining upgrades in 2020.

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