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Options narrowed for $2.5bn Australian highway

12 Oct 20 The government of New South Wales (NSW) in Australia has backed a tunnel as the best option for the Great Western Highway upgrade at Blackheath.

A virtual consultation is being held on the project
A virtual consultation is being held on the project

Tunnel options for Blackheath are still in the very early stages of strategic design as part of the AU$2.5bn (£1.4bn) Great Western Highway upgrade and Transport for NSW said that it will continue to seek community input as designs progress.

Acting deputy premier and minister for regional transport and roads Paul Toole said a tunnel under Blackheath would deliver the best result for preserving the village’s character and heritage as well as smoother and safer journeys for motorists travelling in, around and through the Blue Mountains.

“This is a complex project and we wanted to work with the people who know Blackheath best to ensure we identified the best options for the community,” he said. “For the past six months, the Blackheath Co-Design Committee - which brought together representatives from community groups, local council, emergency services, and Transport for NSW - has been doing just that and has helped shape the way forward.

“We’re now asking for the community’s feedback on two tunnel options under Blackheath – options that will ensure minimal impacts to property, improve safety and congestion through the village and provide an alternative route for emergency services.”

The tunnel includes three possible portals: a northern portal next to the Mount Boyce Heavy Vehicle Safety Station; a short southern tunnel portal option located in Sutton Park; and a long southern tunnel portal option south of Evans Lookout Road. Two other options have been removed from consideration.

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