The NSW Government has confirmed that work on an 11km toll-free tunnel from Blackheath to Little Hartley will begin in early 2023.
Long term advocate for a Blue Mountains tunnel, Angus Raine, Executive Chairman, Raine & Horne, has welcomed the confirmation this week by the NSW Government that an 11km toll-free tunnel from Blackheath to Little Hartley has the green light.
Work will start in early 2023, and the tunnel will save motorists up to 30 minutes between Katoomba and Lithgow during busy periods.
The government also says the new tunnel will improve safety for residents, tourists, and freight operators. The new tunnel will also be the longest road tunnel in the entire country.
The Blackheath to Little Hartley tunnel design features dual carriageways for both eastbound and westbound motorists in separate twin tunnels and a gentler gradient to cut travel times and improve freight efficiencies.
The NSW Government also confirmed that the tunnel would deliver a raft of benefits to transform the connection between Sydney and western NSW.
As part of the significant upgrade of the Great Western Highway between Lithgow and Katoomba, the tunnel will help improve the economic development, productivity, and accessibility in and through the Blue Mountains, Central West, and Orana regions.
A delighted and vindicated Mr Raine said the tunnel would create new opportunities and reshape the Lithgow and the inner Central Western region of NSW.
“There were naysayers when I suggested a tunnel would be a great way to ease congestion on the Great Western Highway. So, I am really pleased for the communities in the Blue Mountains and beyond that this significant infrastructure project is going ahead,” Mr Raine said.
“Faster commute times will also enable even more Sydneysiders to shift to the regional centres across the Great Dividing Range, which will help take some of the heat away from Western Sydney’s affordability issues.
“Whether it’s a record-long tunnel or a fast train, quality infrastructure such as the Blue Mountains Tunnel can underpin long-term property prices in regional centres such as Lithgow, Bathurst, Orange and Mudgee by as much as 5-10 per cent when it becomes a reality,” Mr Raine said.
Brenton Ebzery, Principal / Director, Raine & Horne Leura, says this tunnel is overdue but is pleased that the government has made a start on addressing commuter congestion into the Blue Mountains and onto the Central West.
“However, I hope that down the track the government may consider extending this tunnel so it starts from West Katoomba where there are major issues with traffic congestion and safety,” said Mr Ebzery.
“This is a fantastic improvement that has been a long-time coming and I hope our local government authorities get behind it.”
Source: Raine & Horne Group