FOR the second time in five days the Great Western Highway at Little Hartley has been blocked to traffic by a serious smash.
Three vehicles, one of them conveying Tasmanian tourists, were wrecked in the accident at the intersection of the highway and Coxs River Road.
It is believed a Ford Focus driven by a woman from Bathurst was travelling east on the highway when it collided with the rear of a four wheel drive Toyota Hilux ute driven by a Hartley resident.
Witnesses said the Hilux was waiting to make a right hand turn into Coxs River Road.
The severe impact forced the ute into the path of an oncoming Holden Cruze sedan containing a husband and wife holidaying from Tasmania.
Ambulance, police and fire brigade units from Lithgow and Mt Victoria were quickly on the scene.
Four people were taken to Lithgow Hospital by paramedics, including the Tasmanian man who was trapped in his vehicle for a short time.
Those involved were all aged in their 50s.
Very extensive damage was caused but amazingly all four had escaped with relatively minor injuries.
The accident blocked the highway in both directions for a time and police set up a roadblock at Mt Victoria to divert west bound traffic to the Darling Causeway.
The accident occurred on a section of the highway where only last month the speed limit was reduced from 90 to 80 kph as a safety measure.
Last Tuesday the highway was blocked for most of the day after a semi trailer overturned just a few hundred metres from the scene of Sunday’s pile up.
Ironically the semi trailer crash occurred while just up the road at Forty Bends Roads Minister Duncan Gay was holding a press conference to announce a $250 million upgrade of the Mt Victoria to Bowenfels section of the highway.
Most of the emphasis in the funding allocation, however, is directed towards the Forty Bends section rather than the accident plagued Hartley strip.