The link road will be a 39.5 kilometre long dual carriageway freeway with two lanes in each direction, running generally north west from the F3 at the Newcastle Link Road interchange to the Belford Bends Deviation on the New England Highway north of Branxton. The road will allow traffic to bypass the Maitland area, Lochinvar, Greta and Branxton.
The south eastern end of the road will connect to the interchange of the F3 freeway and the Newcastle Link Road. The interchange will be significantly upgraded, with three additional bridges across the F3 north of the existing one and the provision of high speed on and off ramps from the new road towards Sydney while maintaining full grade separation.
A full interchange will be provided on John Renshaw Drive near the ends of George Booth Drive and Buchanan Road. As part of the construction of that interchange, the southern end of Buchanan Road will be relocated to connect to the existing roundabout at the end of George Booth Drive.
A full interchange will be constructed between Greta and Branxton, with a link to the existing highway via a new bridge across the Main Northern railway line and a link to a new roundabout on Wine Country Drive south of Branxton.
The north western end of the link road will cross over the Main Northern railway line and join onto the existing highway. When the new road is opened, the new road will become the main through road and existing highway on the northern side of Branxton will become a half interchange for turning left on and off the south east bound side of the highway.
The Roads and Traffic Authority obtained approval in July 2006 to allow the construction of the road to be staged. This does not mean that the road will be opened in stages but that preparatory work including relocation of high voltage power lines, gas mains, telecommunication cabling, water and sewer mains and the South Maitland Railway line can be carried out prior to commencing construction of the road. This was done because the relocation of services during road construction may have caused unpredictable delays.
The relocation and construction of a new bridge to carry the South Maitland railway line over the new road was put out to tender in 2007. The closing date for tenders has been put back four times. The fifth tender closing date was 19th December 2007.
It was anticipated that the pre-construction work would be completed in mid 2008 and construction of the road would commence immediately after the pre-construction is completed.