Hillsborough Road is finally set to be upgraded with $35 million promised for the first stage of works on the busy stretch.
The first stage, from west of Crockett Street to west of Barker Avenue, will include the installation of traffic signals at the notorious Crockett Street intersection and the duplication of about 600 metres of Hillsborough Road, along with other road safety improvements.
Stage two will involve the section between Higham Road and the Newcastle Inner City Bypass, including Chadwick Street, while stage three will upgrade the remainder of the Hillsborough Road corridor between Crockett Street and Higham Road.
Only $2.9 million has been allocated in this budget for planning and commencing the stage one works, which aim to "improve safety and travel times for estimated 35,000 motorists who use Hillsborough Road each day". The budget lists $10.9 million for the project over the next four years.
IN BUDGET NEWS:
"This is a big and complex project, but we're not shying away from the challenge because we know what a difference it will make to locals now and into the future," Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Paul Toole said.
"That's why we're investing $35 million to deliver Stage one of the three-stage Hillsborough Road upgrade, and take another step towards less-congested, safer and more reliable journeys on one of the busiest roads in the Hunter.
"We know roadworks on such a busy corridor will impact local and through traffic, so we're tackling one stage at a time to minimise the disruption and keep motorists moving."
Lake Macquarie MP Greg Piper said the Crockett Street traffic lights were an important inclusion.
"This is a great win for us and for the people of Cardiff South who put their lives on the line every time they try to turn onto Hillsborough Road," Mr Piper said.
Hillsborough Road was one of three major wishlist items Charlestown MP Jodie Harrison had flagged ahead of the budget, and an issue she has been pushing to fix for many years.
Pleas to upgrade Hillsborough Road were amplified after Coal Point teenager Jade Frith was killed after being hit by a car trying to cross the road in 2016.
"This is just a start, much more investment is required but it is due to the community pushing for their fair share to make Hillsborough Road safer that we have got this far," Ms Harrison said.
Lake Macquarie Mayor Kay Fraser said the funding announcement was "a highlight amongst a list of fantastic outcomes for our city".
"We welcome the budget announcements and look forward to continuing to work with the NSW Government to see these funded projects completed," Cr Fraser said.
Transport for NSW has awarded a contract to GHD Pty Ltd to develop the concept design and environmental assessment for the upgrade, with plans to display the Review of Environmental Factors (REF) and Concept Design for public comment by mid-2022.