NSW Great Western Highway upgrade progresses towards construction

Monica Gameng   |   October 31, 2022
Great Western Highway upgrade (cr: Transport for NSW)

Construction on the East and West sections of the $4.5 billion Great Western Highway in New South Wales is a step closer to commencing as community consultation gets underway for the final designs for this game-changing project. 

This new milestone keeps the start of major works on the West section on track for early next year. 

“The Great Western Highway upgrade is fast becoming a reality. This is another chance for the community to shape this legacy project by providing their feedback on the updated designs for both sections. 

“Changes between Little Hartley and the Lithgow section will provide better connections that will make travelling between the east and west easier and safer, and will include improvements to service roads and a second over-bridge. 

“Locals wanting to travel between Little Hartley and Victoria Pass will be able to cross over the upgraded highway without having to contend with the highway traffic,” Deputy Premier Paul Toole said. 

kfbtigInitial design for the West section to Mount Victoria (source: Great Western Highway Upgrade / West)

In addition to upgrades to the highway, a shared path that starts at an upgraded Berghofer’s Pass carpark and extends all the way to Hartley historic village will also be delivered, providing benefits to pedestrians and cyclists in the region. 

The updated designs incorporate feedback from the community and these designs will be on display for further consultation until 20 November 2022. 

The latest designs can be viewed on the NSW Roads website. Designs for the West section are also available at Lithgow City Council Administration Centre, Lithgow Library Learning Centre and Hartley Fresh & Café while designs for the East section are available at Blue Mountains City Council Administration Centre and Blackheath Community Centre. 

Information sessions will also be held to give the community a chance to talk to the design team. More information can be found here. 

“For the Katoomba to Blackheath ‘East’ section, one of the key design changes includes extending the carriageway towards Blackheath to improve connectivity and provide safer access between the upgraded highway and the existing Great Western Highway. 

“An extension to the shared path access track has also been brought forward into the East section, connecting through to Valley View Road at Blackheath. 

“The NSW Government are building the infrastructure that matters to make daily life easier for the thousands of motorists who use the Great Western Highway each day,” Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Sam Farraway said. 

0otu98Initial design for Explorers Road overpass (source: Great Western Highway Upgrade / East)

The Great Western Highway upgrade is divided into three sections, namely the Katoomba to Blackheath (East) section, Blackheath to Little Hartley (Central) section, and Little Hartley to Lithgow (West) section. 

The East section is further divided into two smaller sections, with the initial concept designs as follows: 

  • Katoomba to Medlow Bath section will include: 
  • Widening around 3.5 kilometres of the Great Western Highway between Rowan Lane in Katoomba and Bellevue Crescent in Medlow Bath to provide two lanes in each direction 
  • Connections to the Medlow Bath Upgrade 
  • New concrete twin bridges (about 400 metres long) over the valley from Pulpit Hill near Explorers Road 
  • Upgraded intersections at Nellies Glen Road, Explorers Road and Foy Avenue 
  • Improved visitor parking at the Pulpit Hill heritage interpretation area 
  • A new truck stopping area to the west of Explorers Road 
  • Upgrade of the Great Blue Mountains Trail to maintain active transport connections between Katoomba and Medlow Bath 
  • Providing new formalised bus stops on the highway at Nellies Glen Road (westbound), Explorers Road (eastbound) and Foy Avenue 
  • Upgraded and new drainage infrastructure and water quality controls 
  • Medlow Bath to Blackheath section will include: 
  • Widening about 1.8 kilometres of the highway between the existing rail overbridge in Medlow Bath to about 200 metres east of Tennyson Road in Blackheath to provide two lanes in each direction 
  • Connections to the existing highway, providing two lanes in each direction 
  • Road connection ‘stubs’ for the future Great Western Highway tunnel bypass 
  • Relocation of the electrical sectioning hut in the rail corridor from next to the highway opposite Coachhouse Lane, on to Station Street 
  • Extension of the Great Blue Mountains Trail alongside the National Park and Great Western Highway between Medlow Bath and Blackheath 
  • A new truck stopping area about one kilometre west of Medlow Bath 
  • Upgraded and new drainage infrastructure and water quality controls 
  • Investigating opportunities to extend utility relocations and access trails to connect to Blackheath 

The initial concept for the Central section of the Great Western Highway upgrade will involve: 

  • Two identical (twin) tunnels, one eastbound and one westbound, around 11 kilometres long, generally to the south of the existing Great Western Highway and Mount Victoria 
  • Two lanes of traffic flow in each tunnel, to separate traffic and increase safety 
  • Road shoulders to allow vehicles to stop safely without interrupting traffic flow 
  • A possible tunnel depth of up to 200 metres below ground at the deepest point to the south of Mount Victoria 
  • Tunnel operation facilities including ventilation systems, drainage management, signage, lighting, and emergency evacuation systems 

The initial concept for the West section, on the other hand, will include: 

  • Upgrading of around 14 kilometres of the Great Western Highway between Little Hartley and Lithgow to a safer four lane divided highway 
  • Provision of service roads for local traffic 
  • Safer, controlled access onto the highway 
  • Provision of two heavy/light vehicle rest areas 
  • New bridges to allow safer, separated intersections for local traffic 
  • Upgrade of the existing bridge over River Lett 
  • Provision of a westbound climbing (third) lane on River Lett Hill 

In July of this year, Registrations of Interest for the delivery of the East and West sections. You can read more about it here. 

A contract was also awarded in September to Ausconnex for the delivery of early works as part of the West section of the Great Western Highway upgrade. 

Source: NSW Government – Media Releases; Transport for NSW (1, 2, 3, 4

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Monica Gameng
As Felix's Marketing Assistant since 2015, Monica is responsible for researching and sharing new and progressing projects within the construction and mining sectors in Australia. It's no surprise that Monica has her finger on the pulse of Australian major projects given she has produced more than 1,000 posts. She truly is an industry expert.
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