Crossing mountains on the Hunter Expressway came a step closer yesterday as work began on the highway’s first bridge over the Sugarloaf Range.
The first bridge deck was raised over Blue Gum Creek yesterday, signalling a milestone in the major Hunter infrastructure project.
The deck marks the start of construction on the first of three bridges allowing the Hunter Expressway to cross the Sugarloaf Range.
The three balanced cantilever crossings will join for an extended 787-metre stretch that is up to 47 metres above the valley floor.
The $1.7billion four-lane road between the New England Highway and F3 is due to open to traffic in late 2013.
Newcastle MP Tim Owen and federal Hunter MP Joel Fitzgibbon inspected progress at the Buchanan site yesterday as the first section of the bridge was lifted into place.
Mr Fitzgibbon, who was representing Infrastructure and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese, said the bridge would span 200metres when completed.
Works scheduled for the next three months include adjustments to the intersection of Newcastle Link Road and Cameron Park Drive.