Federal minister for infrastructure and transport Darren Chester said the upgrade, which is expected to cost around AU$80m (£49m), would deliver significant road safety improvements between Glen Innes and Tenterfield.
The upgrade will involve building a new 320m-long bridge, and widening lanes and road shoulders in both directions.
The Australian government has committed AU$55m and the New South Wales government around AU$25m to the project.
“This section of the New England Highway has seen a number of crashes over the past decade, which is why the Australian and New South Wales governments are working together to make this stretch of road safer and more efficient,” said Chester.
Deputy prime minister and federal member for New England Barnaby Joyce welcomed the next stage of the project and said any investment in the New England Highway was an investment in local businesses, farming operations and communities. “The highway is an important freight and commuter corridor between Sydney and Brisbane, and a critical part of keeping our regional and national economies powering on,” he said.
The Bolivia Hill upgrade builds on a number of ongoing investments in the highway, including the AU$120m Scone Bypass, the AU$3m Armidale Airport Roundabout, and the AU$10m recently confirmed by Joyce for the future Tenterfield Heavy Vehicle Bypass.
Minister for roads maritime and freight Melinda Pavey said realigning the highway at this location would improve safety for all road users, particularly drivers of heavy vehicles, as uphill travel will be easier once the upgrade is completed. “The New England Highway is not only an important freight route between Sydney and Brisbane but an alternative to the Pacific Highway,” she said.
Work on the upgrade is expected to start in early 2018 and take about two years to complete.