Hume Highway Duplication Complete: Sydney To Melbourne Photo:

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Trevor Collett | Jun, 27 2013 | 3 Comments

It took 50 years and created jobs for around 130,000 people, but Australia’s most important highway – the Hume, highway number 31 – can now boast at least four continuous lanes for the first time.

Over the last two decades, the final important pieces slowly fell into place, including the Albury, Bookham and Gunning bypasses.

But the final piece of the puzzle was unveiled during a public ceremony attended by the Prime Minister in Holbrook this week.

The Holbrook bypass will be opened to traffic next month and, when it is, it will finally be possible to drive from Sydney to Melbourne using at least four continuous lanes and without stopping.

There have been 22 major bypass projects for the Hume Highway in NSW - 49 in total - and the Holbrook community had the chance to walk part of the newest and last section of dual carriageway during the ceremony.

(Then) Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Federal Infrastructure and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese and NSW Roads Minister Duncan Gay were all present at the ceremony, with Prime Minister Gillard saying the completed duplication is a fantastic achievement for Australia.

“If the entire Hume duplication is valued in today’s dollars it is an investment of perhaps as much as $20 billion,” Ms Gillard said.

“The Hume has been defining ‘where we go’ ever since Governor Lachlan Macquarie gave the order in 1819 for the construction of a Great South Road.”

Ms Gillard made special mention of the truck driver’s memorial at Tarcutta, a recognised half-way point between Melbourne and Sydney.

“In 1976 there were almost 2500 crashes and 71 deaths along the NSW sections of the Hume alone,” Ms Gillard said.

“With dual carriageway the length of the highway, crashes are now in the low hundreds and fatalities this year are in the single digits.”

Now that the road is complete, the New South Wales state government has set up a website for people to tell their stories about the Hume Highway of yesteryear (website opens in new window).

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