AFTER years of deliberation and intense debate work on the upgrading of the Great Western Highway from Hartley to South Bowenfels is finally to get under way next year.
And while locking in the route outlined in what was termed the ‘orange option’ in the earlier discussions it will not, for now, include the hugely costly grandiose schemes previously considered — a combination of tunnels and massive viaduct from Mt Victoria into the valley.
These, however, remain in the concept plan as a longer term option for the future.
Minister for Roads and Ports Duncan Gay accompanied Member for Bathurst Paul Toole, Member for Blue Mountains Roza Sage, and departmental representatives to a media conference beside the highway at Forty Bends to announce the plan.
But the announcement was upstaged by another semi trailer smash a few kilometers away at Hartley while the Minister was outlining the safety upgrade details.
Mr Gay said the upgrade would involve an expenditure of $250 million, a major proportion of which will be spent on safety upgrades on the Forty Bends section at South Bowenfels.
He said $120 million has been allocated for the Forty Bends, $80 million for the upgrade through the Hartley Valley, and the remainder for safety works between Mt Victoria and Katoomba.
The NSW and Federal Governments will share the costs of the project on a 20-80 basis.
The announcement follows the release this week of a consultants’ report commissioned by the NSW Government.
Speaking against a background din from passing semi trailers — and occasional emergency vehicles — the Minister said public comment will now be invited on the revised concept design.