Newell Highway

The Newell Highway is a national highway in New South Wales, Australia. The route is currently signed as the A39, however before 2013 was signed as National Highway 39. The Newell Highway is an important road link for freight between Queensland and Victoria and regional centres in western NSW. At 1,058 kilometres (657 mi) in length, the Newell is the longest highway in New South Wales,[2][3] and passes through fifteen local government areas.[1]

Newell Highway

General information
Length1,058 km (657 mi)[1]
Route number(s)
route number
  • National Highway 39 (1992-2013) NSW section
  • National Route 39 (1965-1992)
Major junctions
North end
South end
Major settlementsMoree, Narrabri, Coonabarabran, Gilgandra, Dubbo, West Wyalong, Narrandera, Finley
Highway system

Traffic volumes along the Newell Highway vary significantly from around 1,200 to 4,000 vehicles per day in rural areas. In the urban centres such as Dubbo, average daily traffic volumes are in the order of 20,000 vehicles a day. Many heavy vehicles use the Newell Highway – on average, between 26 per cent and 52 per cent of all traffic on the route.[1] At one point in the south west of the state, the highway carries approximately 1,900 vehicle movements daily, of which about 32 per cent are heavy vehicles;[4] while at another point in the north west of the state, believed to be the highest traffic density on that highway, a truck passes every 60 seconds, 24 hours a day 7 days a week.[5]

The Newell Highway carries the National Highway 39 shield for its entire length. The highway is generally flat, with long, straight sections joined by the occasional curved section. However, passing through the Warrumbungle Ranges, there are steeper grades and tighter curves than on the rest of the highway.[1] Open road sections of the Newell Highway are mostly 110 km/h (68 mph) zones.[6] The Newell Highway serves as a major road link between Melbourne and Brisbane; and is named in honour of H. H. Newell, the Commissioner of Main Roads in New South Wales from 1932 until 1941.[7]


The highway runs generally north-south, parallel to the eastern coast of New South Wales, about 400 kilometres (250 mi) inland, and is the main inland direct road link from Victoria to Queensland, bypassing the more urbanised and congested coastal areas of the state.

From its northern terminus at Goondiwindi in Queensland where it meets the Leichhardt Highway, the Newell runs to the south across the New South Wales and Queensland state border through Boggabilla, Moree, Narrabri, Coonabarabran, Gilgandra, Dubbo, Parkes, Forbes, West Wyalong, Narrandera, Jerilderie, and Finley. The Newell meets its southern terminus at Tocumwal where the highway crosses the Murray River (part of the border between New South Wales and Victoria) and adjoins the Goulburn Valley Highway in Victoria.[6]

The highway crosses eight major inland rivers, from north to south, the Macintyre between Goondiwindi and Boggabilla, the Mehi at Moree, the Namoi near Narrabri, the Castlereagh at Coonabarabran and at Gilgandra, the Macquarie at Dubbo, the Lachlan and Lake Forbes at Forbes, the Murrumbidgee at Narrandera, and the Murray River at Tocumwal. The Newell Highway is subject to periodic flooding[3] north of Moree,[8] at Dubbo,[9] and south of Narrandera.[10][11]

At various points on its route, the Newell shares part of its route with other highways including, from north to south, the Gwydir at Moree, the Kamilaroi near Narrabri, the Oxley and Castlereagh between Coonabarabran and Gilgandra, the Mitchell at Dubbo, the Mid-Western between Marsden and West Wyalong, and the Riverina near Finley.


The Newell was declared a State Highway in 1938, numbered No. 17, and named in honour of H. H. Newell following his death in 1941.[6][7] At the time of its gazettal, the Newell Highway followed existing roads as far as possible, the exceptions being between Narrandera and West Wyalong and from Coonabarabran to Narrabri completed during 1941-42 and 1946-49 respectively as wartime and post-war defence projects.[2] Between 1965 and November 1992 the Newell Highway carried the National Route 39 black and white shield and despite its misnomer as a national route, the highway was a patchwork of other national and state highways, and funding of the highway was in the main the responsibility of the NSW Government. Following the passage of the Australian Land Transport Development Act 1988 on 15 January 1993 the Australian Government gazetted the Newell as a national highway and assumed funding and administrative responsibility.[2] Many non-reflective signs along the highway have reflective NH39 coverplates, a clear indication that they once showed NR39.[6]

Major exits and intersections

QueenslandGoondiwindiGoondiwindi Marshall Street west to Barwon Highway (State Route 83) – Goondiwindi town centre, St George

Cunningham Highway (National Highway A39) north to Leichhardt Highway (National Highway A39) and Cunningham Highway (National Route 42)  Brisbane, Rockhampton, Warwick

Kildonan Road (Tourist Drive 3) east – Border Rivers Tourist Drive
Northern highway terminus at roundabout
00.0 Newell Highway Route transition: South end of National Highway A39, north end of A39
Queensland – New South Wales state border10.62Queensland – New South Wales state border
New South WalesMacintyre River21.2Bridge over river
Moree PlainsBoggabilla85.0 Bruxner Highway (B60) Northern Rivers coast
Gwydir River12276Bridge over river
Moree PlainsMoree13181Boggabilla Road
Mehi River13383Bridge over river
Moree PlainsMoree13383 Gwydir Highway (B76) east  WarialdaB76 eastern concurrency terminus
13483 Gwydir Highway (B76) north / Alice Street west  CollarenebriB76 western concurrency terminus at roundabout
NarrabriNarrabri232144 Kamilaroi Highway west  Wee Waa
Namoi River235146Bridge over river
NarrabriNarrabri Kamilaroi Highway (B51) east  Boggabri, GunnedahRoundabout
WarrumbungleCoonabarabran348216 Oxley Highway (B56) north-east  GunnedahB56 northern concurrency terminus
GilgandraTooraweenah407253Tooraweenah–Mendooran Road   Tooraweenah
Gilgandra441274 Castlereagh Highway (B55) east   Mendooran, DunedooB55 eastern concurrency terminus
Castlereagh River442275Jack Renshaw Bridge
GilgandraGilgandra442275 Castlereagh Highway (B55) / Oxley Highway (B56)  Coonamble, WarrenB55 and B56 concurrency termini
Talbragar River501311Bridge over river
DubboDubbo506314 Erskine Street (B84)  Dunedoo
Macquarie River507315Emile Serisier Bridge
DubboDubbo508316 Mitchell Highway (A32)   Wellington, Narromine
NarromineTomingley559347Tomingley Narromine Road   Narromine
ParkesParkes626389Condobolin Road west   Condobolin
Clarinda Street / Orange Road east   Orange
ForbesForbes659409Lachlan Valley Way east   Cowra
Henry Lawson Way   Grenfell
Lachlan Valley Way northern concurrency terminus
Lake Forbes660410Oxley Bridge
Lachlan River661411Bridge over river
ForbesBundaburrah665413Lachlan Valley Way west   CondobolinLachlan Valley Way southern concurrency terminus
BlandMarsden726451 Mid-Western Highway (B64) east   GrenfellMid-Western Highway eastern concurrency terminus
Wyalong758471 Barmedman Road (B85)   Temora
West Wyalong763474 Mid-Western Highway (B64) west   HayMid-Western Highway western concurrency terminus
CoolamonMirrool Junction813505 Burley Griffin Way (B94) east   TemoraBurley Griffin Way eastern concurrency terminus
Ardlethan831516 Burley Griffin Way (B94) west   GriffithBurley Griffin Way western concurrency terminus
NarranderaGrong Grong876544Ganmain Road   Coolamon
Narrandera898558Irrigation Way   Griffith
Irrigation Canal898558Bridge over the canal
Murrumbidgee River899559Narrandera Bridge
NarranderaNarrandera900560 Sturt Highway (A20) south-east   Wagga WaggaSturt Highway south-eastern concurrency terminus
901560 Sturt Highway (A20) north-west   Darlington PointSturt Highway north-western concurrency terminus
JerilderieJerilderie Junction991616 Kidman Way   Griffith
Billabong Creek1,005624Bridge over creek
JerilderieJerilderie1,007626Conargo Road   Conargo
BerriganFinley1,042647 Riverina Highway   Deniliquin, BerriganB58 concurrency terminus
Murray River1,057657Edward Hillson Bridge
New South Wales – Victoria state border1,058657New South Wales – Victoria state border
VictoriaMoiraKoonoomoo Goulburn Valley Highway (A39)   MelbourneSouthern highway termninus: continues as Goulburn Valley Highway
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

See also


  1. "Draft Newell Highway Corridor Strategy" (PDF) (PDF). Roads & Maritime Services, Government of New South Wales. April 2014. pp. 8–9, 11. Retrieved 23 March 2015.
  2. "Newell Highway: History and Development". OzRoads. Retrieved 22 March 2015.
  3. "Roads Minister says duplicating Newell Highway is on state government's agenda". ABC News. Australia. 7 May 2014. Retrieved 23 March 2014.
  4. "Improvements to the Newell Highway at Grong Grong". Projects: South West NSW. Roads & Maritime Services, Government of New South Wales. 2015. Retrieved 22 March 2015.
  5. Brown, Emma (8 May 2014). "Draft Newell Highway Strategy released". ABC News. Australia. Retrieved 23 March 2014.
  6. "Newell Highway: State Highway No. 17". OzRoads. Retrieved 22 March 2015.
  7. "The Newell Highway – Named after a pioneer road man". Main Roads. OzRoads. 43 (2). December 1977.
  8. "Heavy rain closes roads in NSW north-west". The Sydney Morning Herald. AAP. 28 November 2011. Retrieved 23 March 2015.
  9. Howe, Marc (12 May 2014). "NSW's Newell Highway Slated for Upgrade". Sourceable. Retrieved 23 March 2015.
  10. "Travelling? Check road closures here". The Land. 19 March 2012. Retrieved 23 March 2015.
  11. "Highway flood plan (video)". Prime 7. 31 May 2011. Retrieved 23 March 2015.
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