The Australian state of New South Wales’s Road and Traffic Authority has selected Kempsey Bypass Alliance to carry out the first of two major work packages for the $618m Kempsey Bypass project.

The consortium, comprising Leighton Contractors, AECOM and Coffey Geotechnics, will prepare the site for construction and plan the bridges to be built over the Macleay River and floodplain.

The overall project involves building a 14.5km four-lane divided highway from Kempsey to Frederickton and part of the government’s $3.1bn Pacific Highway upgrade plan.

The project is scheduled to finish in 2014 and is expected to enhance safety, cut travel times and take up to 2,000 trucks off the local streets of Kempsey daily.

The project’s second contract for the design and construction of the bypass will be tendered early next year.