Roads Minister Melinda Pavey has given her assurance a promise to have an honest conversation with the Central West about a Blue Mountains expressway hasn’t been forgotten.
A community consultation meeting will be held in the region soon to discuss future transport plans, including work on connections between the Central West and Sydney, but also links with Newcastle and other regions.
Ms Pavey said in February that she wanted to have that discussion “in coming weeks” but despite three and a half months passing with no further information, it hadn’t fallen by the wayside she said.
Difficulty in matching schedules between Ms Pavey and local MPs Paul Toole and Troy Grant, who are also Ministers, and MLC Rick Colless.
Another issue is community consultation on the Castlereagh Connection, a future line between the Bells Line of Road at Kurrajong and the M7 Motorway, has been time consuming since it began in late-March.
The proposed corridor for a future motorway, which is seen as crucial to link any expressway over the Blue Mountains to a main thoroughfare into Sydney, has proved unpopular with residents.
Hundreds of residents from Castlereagh, Kurrajong Hills, Kurrajong Heights and Yarramundi face having their houses compulsorily acquired at a later date, when the government decides to build the road.
Consultation closes on June 1, and then government will make a decision on whether to keep the route it proposed in March or change to another path.
There has been speculation the strong feedback will force the government to move the corridor, potentially to one earmarked as early as 1951, that is less direct but would also affect fewer houses.
In addition to the meeting in the region, Ms Pavey has confirmed that a working party tasked with finding feasible options for travel options to Sydney is currently being formed.
The taskforce has been called for by the Central NSW Councils (Centroc) organisation since it began a renewed push for an expressway in January.
“The Central West working group will assist the government in providing direction for future transport needs. We are currently in the process of appointing a chair for the group,” Ms Pavey said.
She said it would include members from Centroc, Western Sydney councils, stakeholders, Roads and Maritime Services and Transport for NSW.”
Ms Pavey said the government had trebled road spending in the Central West since coming to power in 2011, and had spent $37 million upgrading the Bells Line of Road.
“This investment has been guided by genuine community need, and the NSW government’s recognition of the economic contribution of this region to the state,” she said.
“We have prioritised the investment in roads around major freight routes and the roads that require safety improvements.
“We are working on delivering both long and short term transport solutions for this region.”