The Australian state of New South Wales (NSW) has opened the first of three sections of the ongoing $262m Karuah to Bulahdelah Pacific Highway upgrade project.

The section consists of 13km northbound dual carriageway at the south end of the existing highway to Jack’s Creek in the north.

The project is being funded by the federal and NSW Governments and work is being carried out by Abigroup.

The total Pacific Highway upgrade plan involves building 23km two-lane dual carriageway between Karuah and Bulahdelah.

The project is aimed at improving safety and journey times between Sydney and the NSW north coast.

The remaining two sections of the project are scheduled to open later this year.