Section: New England Hwy between Beresfield and Hexham

New England Hwy eastbound approaching the Tarro Interchange. Aug 2004.

This 4km section of the New England Highway carries the National Route 1 shield on its way from the F3 Freeway to the Pacific Highway. It was formerly National Route 15 (1955-1974) and National Highway 15 (1974-1988). Signage shows a mixture of NR1, NH1 and NH15 - most errors are for cotinuity purposes - but I can confirm this section of highway is purely National Route 1.

The current alignment is completely different to what was in existance prior to the 1960s. The original alignment of the Highway crossed the Newcastle-Maitland railway line at a level crossing 1km west of Hexham Interchange, traversing Woodlands Close (formerly Old Maitland Road) and Anderson Road, rejoining the existing highway at Weakleys Flat. The first improvement was the four lane railway overpass and one carriageway between the railway overpass and the current John Renshaw Drive junction, which was commenced in 1962 and completed in September 1964. Work commenced on Stage 2 in mid 1967, which involved the duplication of the existing road between the railway overpass and John Renshaw Drive, and the construction of dual carriageways from John Renshaw Drive to the junction of the existing highway and Thornton Road. The project was opened to traffic on 15 October 1970.

Originally this section of the New England Highway had at-grade intersections at Anderson Drive/Woodlands Close, Quarter Sessions Rd, Christie Rd and John Renshaw Drive. Following the completion of the F3 Freeway to Freemans Drive and the subsequent re-routing of National Highway 1 through Kurri Kurri to Hexham there was a rapid increase in traffic on this section of highway. The opening of the F3 Freeway to Lenaghans Drive in December 1993 further exacerbated this and it had been recognised that a controlled-access facility would need to be provided in order to maintain adequate safety standards on the route. Indeed locals had pressured Newcastle City Council and the Department of Main Roads for many years for improvements to the Anderson Dr/Woodlands Close intersection and the Council submitted a report to the DMR in June 1987 with proposals to relocate the existing junction and provide traffic signals. In the meantime the Christie Road intersection was closed and traffic signals were installed at John Renshaw Drive.

Following the final decision on the F3 alignment north of Palmers Road the decision was made to construct grade-separated interchanges at both John Renshaw Drive and Anderson Drive. Construction of the Tarro Interchange was completed in May 1994 and the John Renshaw Drive overpass followed in September 1997. Wire rope fencing has since been erected in the median to prevent illegal right turns being made to/from Quarter Sessions Road.

Gantry signage for westbound traffic between Hexham Interchange and the Tarro railway overpass. Oct 2004.
Looking south at the Anderson Dr/Woodlands Close intersection with the highway, showing construction of the Tarro Interchange in the background. Thanks to Shayne Kerr for this photo, taken in 1993.
Looking east along Woodlands Close, which was the New England Highway until the opening of the Tarro railway overpass in 1964. The Highway used to cross the Newcastle-Maitland rail line at a railway crossing in Hexham. Dec 2003.
NR1/NH15 signage on Anderson Drive at the link road to the Tarro Interchange. Note that NH15 is signed incorrectly, it does not begin until the junction with John Renshaw Drive, about 1km west of this interchange. Oct 2004.
Signage at the split for eastbound and westbound New England Highway. Oct 2004.
Gantry signage for eastbound traffic on the Tarro Interchange overpass. Oct 2004.
Westbound AD sign for the John Renshaw Drive interchange. This interchange is the beginning of National Highway 15. Oct 2004.
Heading north on John Renshaw Drive approaching the New England Hwy. Aug 2004.
Looking west at the New England Hwy/John Renshaw Dr split. Dec 2003.
Looking east on the New England Highway from the John Renshaw Drive overpass. Aug 2004.
Old signage for the former at-grade T-junction at New England Hwy/John Renshaw Dr. Photo thanks to Shayne Kerr, c.1997.
The old at-grade intersection, including old signs. Thanks again to Shayne Kerr, c.1994.

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