COMMUNITY consultation has opened on the proposed $2.5 billion duplication of the Great Western Highway from Katoomba to Lithgow and work on the first phase is expected to start in 2021.
The NSW Government made the announcement that consultation was open at an event on Thursday near Lithgow that was attended by Orange City Council's technical services director Wayne Gailey.
Bathurst mayor Bobby Bourke was also at the announcement and said the duplication of that key stretch of the highway was a breakthrough for the Central West.
"As a councillor I've been waiting probably 16 years for some good news for the road structure through the Blue Mountains to the Central West," Cr Bourke said.
"I can't wait to see it through to completion."
The community consultation phase follows Deputy Premier John Barilaro's visit to Bathurst in March when he announced that the NSW Coalition, if re-elected, would begin design and construction on the duplication from Katoomba to Lithgow.
This video released by the NSW Government explains the proposed route and its goals:
Member for Bathurst Paul Toole said a proposed corridor between Mount Victoria and Forty Bends had been reserved in 2013 and was part of both Blue Mountains City Council and Lithgow City Council's local environment plans.
The NSW Government said it had acquired 23 per cent of the properties along the Hartley Valley section of the corridor.
Strategic corridor between Katoomba and Mount Victoria ...
"We recognise the challenges of this. We need to work around steep topography, the rail line, minimise impacts on the environment and preserve the heritage and character of these communities," Mr Toole said of the duplication project.
"That's why we want the community's feedback."
Mr Toole said the project was in the early stages of planning and design, with construction expected to start in 2021 and be completed in 2028.
Community consultation will close at 5pm on December 16 and it will include community information sessions in Lithgow, Katoomba and communities in between.
The NSW Government says the area through Blackheath has been identified as a section with considerable engineering, heritage and environmental challenges and options are still to be decided there.
Find more information about the project here
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
- Send us a letter to the editor using the form below: