Australia has extended additional A$200m ($195m) funds for the Hunter Expressway spanning 40km.

The project involves a dual carriageway connecting the F3 to the New England Highway with interchanges at Buchanan, Kurri Kurri, Loxford, Allendale and Branxton.

The total cost of the expressway is A$1.65bn ($1.60bn) and the Australian government has already funded A$1.5bn ($1.46bn), with the NSW government providing A$200m ($195m).

The four-lane Hunter Expressway is being carried out in two contracts: the eastern section (F3 Freeway to Kurri Kurri) is being built in partnership with Roads and Maritime Services, Thiess, Parsons Brinckerhoff and Hyder Consulting.

After completion, travel time will be reduced by half an hour from Newcastle to Branxton and will reduce 30,000 vehicles a day from the New England Highway and away from the towns of Thornton, Maitland and Rutherford.

Another contract involves the western section (Kurri Kurri to Branxton) to be built under a design and construct contract with Abigroup Contractors.

The project is expected to be complete in two years.