Northerly aerial view over the Hexham Interchange c.1990.

The Hexham Interchange, located in Hexham, 16km north-west of Newcastle, is the junction of the Pacific and New England Highways. To add to the mix, National Route 1 enters the interchange from the north on the Pacific Hwy and leaves to the west along the New England Hwy, while State Route 111 terminates here, entering the interchange from the south-west on the Pacific Hwy. This is also where the infamous 'Oak Factory' is located, a name synonomous with many a family holiday north.

This intersection has been an important road junction since prior to the proclamation of the two highways in 1928. At this time, the intersection was located 100m to east, where Old Maitland Rd (the former New England Hwy) meets the Hunter River. In December 1952, an opening-span steel struss bridge was opened to two-way traffic, replacing the punt that operated across the river since the 1800's. This bridge now carries two lanes of southbound traffic across the river.

In 1962, the intersection was upgraded, with the Pacific Hwy from Sandgate to Hexham being duplicated. Two years later, 4-laning of the New England Hwy from Hexham to Tarro was completed.

During the 1980's, traffic volumes across the river were rapidly increasing, especially with the opening of section after section of the F3 and the bridge soon became a major bottleneck. The need for the bridge to open, caused the greatest concern so planning began on a new high-level crossing on the western side of the existing bridge. The new high-level bridge would carry three lanes of northbound traffic, with 2 lanes forming the major approach from Newcastle and one lane coming from the New England Hwy. This new bridge opened to traffic in April 1987 and the northern approach, the Pacific Hwy, was duplicated in January 1990.

During April 2003, a large truck struck the side trussing of the southbound bridge, causing minor structural damage. The southbound bridge was closed for several weeks as repairs were undertaken, both directions of traffic having to share the new bridge. For the purpose of facilitating two-way traffic flow on the high-level bridge, a u-turn bay and traffic signals were constructed on the Newcastle side of the interchange.

Photos of Hexham Interchange
The older hexham Bridge, built in 1952. Nov 2005.
The old and new bridges side by side. Nov 2005.
Pacific Hwy (SR111) northwestbound approaching the Hexham Interchange. Note the incorrect NH15 shield, the New England Hwy is NR1 for about 4km until John Renshaw Drive, where NH15 begins. However, I believe the inccorect shield provides more navigational benefit than a correct shield would. Oct 2004.
Old version of the above sign that has since been removed. This photo is one of my all time favourites :-) Jan 1999.
Pacific Hwy northwestbound, this time about 500m from the interchange. Oct 2004.
Old version of the above sign. Photo by Shayne Kerr in 1998.
And again, this time nearly at the beginning of the slip lane for Pacific Hwy (NR1) traffic. Oct 2004.
View of the split. Oct 2004.
Southbound on Pacific Highway approaching the Hexham Bridge. Note how SR111 is signed similar to a tourist route. Oct 2004.
Overhead gantries on the approach to the old bridge southbound. April 2004.
New England Hwy heading east. Aug 2004.
Aerial view of the interchange, before it was an interchange, in March 1969. Note the old New England Highway alignment along the shore of the river - the old punt landing is just out of the picture.
The older Hexham Bridge in its open position in 1952. (DMR)
Distance sign heading west on the New England Highway. Note the incorrect NH1 shield - this section is longer part of the National Highway. Oct 2004.
Old distance sign heading southeast on Pacific Hwy. This sign was replaced in 2000 iirc. 1999.

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