Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts

Pacific Highway Upgrade

Funding Program:Investment Road and Rail Program
Transport Mode:Road
Expected Start/Finish:Mid 1996 - Late 2020
Corridor:Sydney - Brisbane

Project Description

The Pacific Highway upgrade is one of the largest road infrastructure projects in New South Wales (NSW) and Australia. It connects Sydney and Brisbane, and is a major contributor to Australia's economic activity.

The Australian and NSW governments began jointly upgrading the Pacific Highway to provide a four lane divided road from Hexham, near Newcastle, to the Queensland border in 1996. This was completed in 2020 with the official opening of the Woolgoolga to Ballina section of the upgrade.


Travel Time Savings and Reduced Operating Costs

Travel times have been reduced by 2.5 hours across the length of the upgrade. These faster travel times are reducing operating costs for freight operators.

Improved Safety

Since the commencement of the Pacific Highway upgrade in 1996, fatal crashes have halved, down from more than 40 per year prior to the upgrade commencing to fewer than 20 in 2019.

Improved Amenity

The Pacific Highway upgrade has improved the amenity of many townships currently along the route. The upgrade has resulted in the highway bypassing many major towns, which has reduced noise, pollution and traffic and improved safety in these townships.


The Australian Government committed $5.64 billion from 2013-14 towards the completion of the Pacific Highway upgrade.



As of 17 December 2020, the full 657km of the Pacific Highway between Hexham and the Queensland border is open to traffic as a four-lane divided road. 


The upgrade comprises a number of completed projects. The following are links to the individual webpages of these projects:

Photo Gallery

Disclaimer: The material contained in this site is made available on the understanding that the Department is not thereby engaged in rendering professional advice for a particular purpose. Before relying on the material in any important matter, users should carefully evaluate the accuracy, completeness and relevance of the information for their purposes and should obtain appropriate professional advice relevant to their particular circumstances.

Project details last updated: 18/12/2020