Thiess will commence initial design and construction work on the eastern section of the Hunter Expressway project in the Australian state of New South Wales following the finalisation of the contract at $825m.

The company will construct the 13.3km, four-lane divided highway from the Newcastle Link Road to Kurri Kurri in the Hunter Valley, partnering with construction firms Parsons Brinkerhoff and Hyder Consulting.

The completed expressway is expected to reduce travel time between Newcastle and the Hunter Valley by 28 minutes and could provide an efficient route for freight deliveries in the region.

The eastern section of the expressway project will include two million cubic metres of earthworks, three 840m-long and 40m-high viaduct bridges over mine subsidence areas and 16 other bridges.

The project is expected to be completed before December 2013.