The Australian and New South Wales governments funded the upgrade of the 217 kilometre section of the Pacific Highway.
This highway upgrade was built in multiple sections with the final section opening to traffic in 2013.
A number of towns have been bypassed as part of the Newcastle to Port Macquarie upgrade. Bypassing towns reduces travelling pinch points by diverting the major highway around a town, and takes the flow of 'through' traffic away from the town. Some of the town bypasses for this highway upgrade include Raymond Terrace, Bulahdelah, Taree and Coopernook.
The benefits for these towns has been removing some traffic congestion in the town, reducing noise and vibration and improving road safety, making the town centre more attractive to visitors.
Since opening to traffic this highway upgrade has improved connectivity between coastal towns and regional centres. There has been improved travel efficiency with reduced travel times between Hexham and Port Macquarie estimated to be saving about 30 minutes. The greatest benefit has been the significant reduction in serious and fatal road crashes.