The community is invited to have its say on the environmental assessment and concept design for the West section of the transformative Great Western Highway upgrade between Little Hartley and Lithgow.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Barnaby Joyce said the Australian Government's $2 billion commitment to the Great Western Highway upgrade would help transform the vital transport link into a smoother, safer passageway for motorists.
"Thousands of motorists rely on the Great Western Highway every day and we are helping fund the upgrades these drivers need and deserve, to ensure they can reach their destination safely and smoothly every time," the Deputy Prime Minister said.
NSW Deputy Premier Paul Toole said the NSW Government was investing $2.5 billion to transform the Great Western Highway by upgrading it to a four-lane highway between Katoomba and Lithgow to ensure safer, smoother journeys for the main link between the Central West and Sydney.
"This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for the community to help design the biggest road upgrade the Hartley Valley has ever seen, and, alongside the Central and East sections of the Great Western Highway upgrade, will see more than 100km of safe, modern dual-carriageway all the way to Sydney," Mr Toole said.
"The upgrade will include new intersections and also make use of the existing highway as a service road to maintain access to local roads and properties for locals. The eastbound and westbound rest areas will also be set back into the landscape to reduce their visual impact.
"We've listened to the community and made a number of design changes to ensure we protect the historic village of Hartley which is a significant piece of local history and our state's heritage."
Federal Member for Calare Andrew Gee said the release of the Review of Environmental Factors (REF) and the concept design was an important milestone for the upgrade.
"Everyone has a horror story of being stuck in traffic coming over the mountains, with vehicles travelling at walking pace, backed up for hours," Mr Gee said.
"Each day, about 11,000 vehicles travel on the Great Western Highway between Little Hartley and Lithgow. This large volume of freight, tourist and general traffic is only expected to increase as more and more people visit country NSW and make their move from the city to Western NSW.
"We're proposing this upgrade because motorists shouldn't have to be stuck in traffic along the highway, be delayed at intersections, or go long stretches without safe opportunities to overtake.
"It's really important that the community has input into the project, so I would strongly encourage anyone with an opinion to have their say. Because of the volume of design material, the REF for Katoomba to Blackheath will be displayed separately, in early 2022."
NSW Parliamentary Secretary to the Deputy Premier Sam Farraway said it was vital that the locals who live, move and work around the Great Western Highway help shape this legacy project.
"This is a history-making project that will unlock new opportunities for the Central West and strengthen the connection to Sydney," Mr Farraway said.
"This work will move this critical project a step closer to becoming a reality."
The REF and concept design will be on display until Wednesday, December 22.
The community can review the REF online at nswroads.work/gwhwestconsult, or at Lithgow City Council Administration Centre and Lithgow Library Learning Centre.
Community information sessions will be held online on Tuesday, November 30, and Saturday, December 11.
Information sessions focusing on the Coxs River Road and Jenolan Caves Road areas will be held online on Thursday, December 2 and Thursday, December 9, respectively. COVID-safe, face-to-face sessions will be held on Saturday, December 4 in Lithgow and Tuesday, December 7 in Hartley. Residents can also book a phone consultation on 1800 953 777.
Once submissions have been received, they will be reviewed before a submissions report is released and the REF is determined.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content: