What’s Happening With Infrastructure And Development In Singleton

The Singleton bypass, the Hunter Gas Pipeline, the new town at Huntlee, the Singleton Arts and Culture Centre – there are some major projects happening in and around Singleton.

With the $7 million upgrade of Singleton’s Town Centre due to be completed ahead of schedule in the next few months, we take a look at the other major infrastructure projects and developments happening in and around our town.

Movement on the Singleton bypass

Early this year the Federal and State Governments announced that they are pushing ahead with the Singleton bypass on the New England Highway.

The bypass is designed to remove 15,000 of the 26,000 vehicles that pass through Singleton town centre every day, easing congestion while improving safety and travel times. Work on the eight-kilometre bypass is expected to start in mid-2023 and run until late 2026.

The Federal Government has committed $560 million and the State Government $140 million to the project, promising to draw on local Singleton businesses and contractors to fill the 1370 jobs the project is expected to create.

Singleton Mayor Cr Sue Moore supports the project but has repeatedly expressed concerns that the design of the bypass is not sufficiently future proof. Federal MP Barnaby Joyce says the plans for the bypass will allow for a later upgrade to a dual carriageway were required to meet future traffic demands, but Cr Moore has called for the bypass to be built as a dual carriageway from the outset, with a full interchange at Putty Road. This, she says, will ensure the bypass meets the community’s needs now and into the future.

The latest on the controversial Hunter Gas Pipeline

The Hunter Gas Pipeline is a proposed natural gas pipeline running 833km from Wallumbilla in Queensland to Newcastle, via the Upper Hunter including Singleton. It’s designed to take gas from Queensland and Narrabri (should the Narrabri coal seam gas project go ahead) to Newcastle and Sydney.

In 2019 the State Government granted approval for construction of the contentious pipeline to begin by October 2024 but affected landholders and their lawyers continue to clash with the Government over the project. In August 2020, the National COVID-19 Coordination Commission recommended a gas-led economic recovery from the pandemic, and the Hunter Gas Pipeline’s backers suggested that Federal Government support for the project could be in the offing. In mid-2020 the pipeline developers commenced an 18-month process of landholder engagement and firming up of the pipeline’s final route alignment, with an aim to start construction in mid-2022.

Huntlee continues to grow

Development at Huntlee, the Hunter’s newest town, continues at a rapid pace. With work planned to continue until 2040, the town is set to include 7500 homes and will be the same size as Singleton when it’s completed.

Huntlee’s first residents moved in back in 2015, and more than 1000 people now call Huntlee home. The town has 440 completed homes, with 750 lots sold to date and another 62 homes under construction.

The Coles supermarket at Huntlee opened in September last year. The Huntlee shopping centre also includes Liquorland, medical centre, specialty retailers and a tavern creating more than 120 retail jobs. A seniors’ living village is also under construction.

Singleton Council’s plans for 2021 and 2022

The Singleton Council’s draft Operational Plan for 2021/22, currently on public exhibition, is focused on infrastructure renewal and community identity. There are some big road, bridge, sewer and water projects planned, as well as the delivery of the all-new $4.08 million Singleton Arts and Culture Centre.

Following several decades of community requests, construction is finally underway on the new Singleton Arts and Culture Centre next to the Singleton Visitor Information Centre in Townhead Park. The new building will include more than 300 square metres of gallery space, two artist studios including wet space and digital space, a workroom and storage.

The draft Plan also includes major capital works projects including renewals and upgrades of the water network and the sewer treatment plant, as well as works to Hungerford Bridge, Goorangoola Road, Hamiltons Crossing Road and Minimbah Drive Reservoir, among others.

The plan is on public exhibition until 19 April and Council invite residents’ views, so have a look and have your say.

Photo credit: Facebook Singleton Council

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