The accommodation blocks for a new 330-bed maximum-security wing are being installed at Cessnock Correctional Centre, six months after construction began.
This stage of the prison expansion project is being overseen by Richard Crookes Construction, and is on track to be completed by mid-2019.
The work so far has included excavation, drainage, earthworks, civil works, erection of walls and steel work, and modification to the existing operational maximum-security facility.
Modular cells are being installed into the inmate accommodation blocks, with more structural steel work to follow.
The project will also include a health clinic, a sports and exercise area and 4000 square-metre programs and industries building that will provide an outlet for inmates to address their rehabilitation needs.
It will create 280 jobs during construction and 70 jobs on completion.
Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter Scot MacDonald said the project will have a positive effect on the local economy.
Mr MacDonald visited the site on Monday and was impressed by what he saw.
“It’s a big piece of infrastructure in our backyard,” he said.
“It’s stunning to see – there’s no question about it.”
Corrective Services NSW northern custodial operations director Glen Scholes said the project was running on time, and on budget.
The Cessnock expansion is part of the NSW Government’s $3.8 billion investment to increase prison capacity across the state.
“There are 13,700 inmates across the state and it’s important that we’ve got appropriate accommodation for them,” Mr Scholes said.
The new maximum security wing is part of a three-stage, 1000-bed expansion at the Cessnock complex.
The 400-bed Hunter Correctional Centre opened in January, and is almost at capacity with 380 inmates.
A 280-bed minimum security facility is in its planning phase, with final design considerations being made.
Justice NSW, Cessnock City Council and Roads and Maritime Services are still in discussions about plans for new public access road, which was promised in November 2016.