Australian state New South Wales is moving ahead with its $1.7bn Hunter Expressway project by calling for tenders to carry out the project.

The project work includes construction of a 14km section of the Hunter Expressway between the F3 Freeway and the proposed Kurri Kurri interchange as well as a 26km section between the proposed Kurri Kurri interchange and Branxton.

The new 40km four-lane Hunter Expressway will provide a east-west connection between Newcastle and Lower Hunter by extending from the F3 Freeway at Seahampton to the New England Highway west of Branxton.

The project mainly aims to reduce travel times between Newcastle and the Hunter, and address the regions’ growing traffic; easing congestion between Newcastle and the towns of Thornton, Maitland and Rutherford.

The pre-construction work including fencing and property acquisitions is underway.