Transport for NSW has released updated concept designs of the final stage of the Newcastle Inner City Bypass and plans to begin early works on the long-awaited road link later this year.
The state transport department has made 15 changes to the road's southern and northern interchanges, which it says are in response to community feedback.
The revised designs come almost four years after the initial concepts were released for the Rankin Park to Jesmond link and a year after the Department of Planning approved the project's environmental impact statement.
At the southern interchange, which intersects with McCaffrey Drive and Lookout Road, two bridges running over the bypass have been combined into one.
McCaffrey Drive has also been realigned to improve traffic flow and the existing set of traffic lights at Lookout Road moved onto the bridge.
Traffic lights at the merge of the southbound bypass lanes and Lookout Road have also been scrapped.
At the northern interchange, which will replace the roundabout on Newcastle Road, the shared path proposed to run through a tunnel has been shifted to run under the bypass bridge over Newcastle Road.
Retaining walls at the bridge have been removed and the southbound exit ramp moved away from properties on Robert Street.
The fifth and final stage of the bypass will run to the west of John Hunter Hospital.
It will create a second entrance to the health precinct, alleviate traffic on the existing route of Lookout and Newcastle roads, and allow motorists to avoid 11 sets of traffic lights.
The government committed funding to the $280 million project in 2014. The construction of a footbridge over Newcastle Road near Jesmond Park, which is considered part of the project, commenced late last year.
Wallsend MP Sonia Hornery, who has in recent years called for the project to be fast-tracked in order to reduce congestion around John Hunter Hospital, said she was recently briefed by Transport for NSW and welcomed the revised designs.
"The bypass is on track with the first stage progressing well with the footings for the pedestrian overpass shooting up at Jesmond," she said.
"The next stage will be the early works at the southern end of the bypass and will involve relocating water and gas mains and moving poles and wires across the electricity network."
Ms Hornery said TfNSW had indicated those works would start later this year and had to be completed before the road works, which are expected to go out to tender in early 2021, could begin.
The 33-metre main span of the pedestrian overpass near Jesmond Park will be installed in coming months.
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