by Carmen Miller
The Australian Government has approved funding of up to $9.3 million for safety works on the New England Hwy between Warwick and Wallangarra.
The funding commitment forms part of The New England Safety package, which is a jointly funded project with the Australian Government contributing $9.3 million and the Queensland Government $2.33 million.
The package forms part of the National Highway Upgrade Programme which aims to improve the national road network through priority safety and efficiency works.
The $11.63 million package includes new overtaking lanes; wide centre line treatment works and minor intersection improvements
Federal Member for Maranoa David Littleproud is thrilled with the announcement, however feels it is just the beginning of a long line of improvements needed on the New England Highway.
"This investment is long overdue and it is incredibly exciting that it is happening," Mr Littleproud said.
"However, as far as I am concerned, this is just the beginning.
"We need to keep pushing for upgrades to the Accommodation Creek crossing and the Eight Mile intersection.
"I had a fruitful discussion with Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester and he appreciates the importance of these upgrades.
"Thanks to this announcement and the roundabout funding at the top of the Stanthorpe intersection we are a long way in the direction we need to be heading but I will continue to push for further improvements as at this point in time, Accommodation Creek and Eight Mile need to be prioritized.
"There has been a lot invested in other highways and now it's New England's time to shine."
The works will look to upgrade six sections along an 11.35 kilometre stretch of the highway.
"We'll be looking to improve overtaking opportunities and widening lanes in areas which not only have a tragic history of head-on crashes but also in zones that pose an unacceptable crash risk," Mr Littleproud said.
"The project also includes minor intersection improvements to remove turning traffic from the through lane at Mt Stirling Road intersection.
"With more vehicles using the New England Highway, particularly heavy vehicles, fixing sections of the highway in need of attention is one of the best ways to keep drivers safe."
Construction works are expected to start in October and should take around a year to complete.