Major milestone achieved for ARTC Hexham Relief Roads Project
A number of rail infrastructure improvements to the Hunter Valley Rail Network have been proposed by the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) to address the projected forecast increase in freight throughput at the Port of Newcastle. To cater for this increase, the ARTC is undertaking a number of projects to upgrade the rail network to maintain rail capacity ahead of the demand requested by the coal producers. One of these projects, Hexham Relief Roads, involves the construction of five new relief tracks next to the existing tracks alongside the Pacific Highway near Hexham Railway Station. The project is estimated to cost approximately $110 million and is expected to take approximately 18 months to construct.
Working as part of the Upper Hunter Valley Alliance (UHVA), KMH led the preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), required under Part 5.1 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act, 1979. The EIS was publically exhibited by NSW Department of Planning and Infrastructure (DP&I) between 8 August 2012 and 10 September 2012. During this period, submissions were invited from anyone with an interest in the project including members of the community and government stakeholders. DP&I received a total of 43 submissions and these were addressed in the Preferred Infrastructure Report (PIR) prepared by KMH and lodged with DP&I in March 2013.
The submission of the EIS and PIR represent major milestones in the planning of this state significant infrastructure project. The project is currently being assessed by the DP&I.