The Hon Anthony Albanese MP
Minister for Infrastructure and Transport
Leader of the House
Member for Grayndler (NSW)
Prime Minister Julia Gillard
NSW Minister for Roads
After half a century of continuous construction and the investment of billions of dollars, a modern fully duplicated Hume Highway is at last a reality—a significant nation building achievement.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Federal Infrastructure and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese and NSW Roads Minister Duncan Gay today joined with local community at Holbrook in southern NSW to celebrate this historic event and inspect the town's newly built bypass, the final stage in the upgrade of this iconic road.
The Bypass will open to traffic next month.
Rebuilding the 808 kilometre Hume Highway has been a massive engineering endeavour, one made more challenging by the vast and varied landscape through which it travels.
As well as duplicating the entire road, the project also involved removing some 90 million cubic metres of earth, erecting 205 new bridges, building 68 new interchanges and planting millions of trees. And along with Holbrook, the Highway has been re-routed around 49 towns.
Even more remarkably, it is estimated that as many as 130,000 Australians at some point worked onsite transforming the Highway. For some this project has been a life's work. In fact, one of the workers now putting the finishing touches on the Holbrook Bypass first started working on the Hume back in 1972.
The end product of all that labour is a modern 21st century highway.
In practical terms, the upgrade has reduced travel times between Sydney and Melbourne by around three hours and made those journeys far safer. Indeed, along just the NSW section of the Highway fatalities have declined dramatically from 71 in 1976 to 4 so far this year.
What's more, the Highway is now fit for purpose as one of Australia's busiest transport routes. It is now able to carry more goods with fewer delays, speeding up the movement of freight along the eastern seaboard and boosting national productivity.
In addition to today's Community Day, a new interactive website has been created to mark the completion of the upgrade: www.rms.nsw.gov.au/humecelebration.
As well as providing a unique insight into the history of this vital road, the ‘Celebrating a Momentous Journey’ website also gives everyone the opportunity to record their memories about this iconic road.
Such personal reflections and anecdotes, together with videos and photos dating back to as early as 1876, will help make this website a valuable resource for anyone interested in tracking the history of the Hume Highway from dirt track to what it is today.
Without a doubt, it has been a momentous journey.
The Highway closely follows the path first taken by European explorers Hamilton Hume and William Hovell during their successful 1824 expedition to find an alternate inland route from Sydney to Port Phillip, the site of modern day Melbourne. Work on its northern section between Picton and the Goulburn Plains begun in 1819 on the orders of Australia's original nation builder, Governor Lachlan Macquarie.
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