THE new twin bridges over River Lett at Hartley will be 24 metres (80 feet) high and up to 300 metres long.
THE viaducts at the western end of the twin tunnels under Mt Victoria delivering the new road into the Hartley Valley will be about 650 metres long and up to 25 metres (80 plus feet) above ground.
A well- attended meeting at Hartley , the second in under a week, was given these and more details of the Great Western Highway upgrade proposed by Roads and Maritime Services (RMS).
It was again a very professional and detailed presentation presided over by Peter Deardon, Regional Manager at Parkes and assisted by a strong force of senior experts from the service.
As at the previous meeting the audience was cautiously prepared to watch the meeting unfold but quite early in the proceedings were very impressed indeed with a stunning “virtual ride” over the roads and bridges and through the new tunnels.
It was an extremely apt use of some world class technology and certainly made the whole thing much easier to understand.
It soon became evident that as each phase of the presentation unfolded a mood of increasing impatience developed and in spite of the moderator pleading for the audience to hold questions until the end of each segment the plea fell on deaf ears.
The matters in some cases were complex and people seemed to be afraid to wait in case they became lost in the enormous amount of fact and figures.
There was a discernible swing from the fact finding mood of the earlier meeting.
Having got the gist of how it would fit together this last meeting settled down to examining the effects of many of the proposals.
The audience displayed a keen interest in perceived threats to both aboriginal and more recent heritage items, in risks at entry and exit ramps, particularly on grades, of noise levels arising from the use of truck rest areas and especially noise and danger where trucks re-entered the highway into streams of fast moving down-hill traffic.
There was strong opposition to re-establishing the old bridge over River Lett and improving the old road from that point to the Hartley Village thereby attracting an unwanted traffic flow through the village.
There was concern about the inevitable damage to the heritage buildings at Little Hartley arising from vibration coming from the new deviation
Most opposition, perhaps even scorn, was reserved for the RMS plans for the new road in relation to the Hartley Village.
The meeting was unanimous in its rejection of the scheme put forward.
Many complained that the village, its future and its attractions would be irretrievably damaged and isolated.
Marcia Osterberg-Olsen summed up the mood when she commented “whatever are we doing?
“This giant new project has been concentrated along perhaps our nation’s most important and historic corridor.
“The very beginning of inland Australia.
“How has this been allowed to happen?
That question was repeated over and over again.
“Of all the space in this valley and in view of the obvious alternatives what are we doing amongst this priceless and irreplaceable heritage?”