Governments agree to fix 'unacceptable' rest areas

Work to begin on 28 rest areas across NSW as part of a $16 million agreement to improve roadside facilities

Work will soon begin on 28 new and upgraded rest areas across NSW as part of a joint government agreement to spend $16 million improving roadside facilities.

The federal and NSW governments will each commit $8 million to the venture, with NSW Minister for Roads Michael Daley saying it will go a long way towards reducing fatigue-related incidents in the trucking industry.

Under the agreement, the governments will fund six new rest areas along key freight routes, while another 22 will be upgraded.

Labelling the current state of rest areas an "unacceptable situation", Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Anthony Albanese says all jurisdictions are committed to working with the industry to improve rest areas.

"In fact, our new $70 million Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity program is the biggest single federal investment in the roadside facilities used by truck drivers, including new and refurbished rest stops, parking bays and decoupling bays," Albanese says.

The Newell Highway will be the first to benefit, with work beginning immediately on building three new and upgrading five existing rest areas. Planning will also begin on upgrading another three roadside facilities.

New rest areas will also be built on the Pacific, Barrier and Sturt highways, with the latter also receiving upgrades to nine existing facilities.

Another two rest areas will be upgraded on the Hume Highway, with both governments also agreeing to improve a rest area on the Great Western Highway.

"By working together, the federal and NSW governments are providing truck drivers with more opportunities to get the rest they need, which in turn is making our roads safer for everyone," Daley says.

The $16 million investment will also fund upgrades to blue reflectors highlighting informal rest stops along the Newell, with funds also to be spent assessing five bridges to bring them into line with HML standards.

NatRoad, which has pushed for greater action on rest areas, says the investment is a step forward in preventing driver fatigue and improving road safety.

NatRoad President Rob McIntosh says the bridge assessments may also deliver benefits by opening up more of the road network to heavy vehicles.

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