All levels of government on the same page for road upgrades

The Federal Member for Calare John Cobb and NSW Minister for Roads and Freight Duncan Gay were in Lithgow today to announce the approval of a $70 million safety upgrade of the Great Western Highway at Hartley Valley and River Lett Hill to Forty Bends.

The announcement was made at the cold & windy rest-area overlooking River Lett Hill, where they spoke of the need for upgrades to the road. “These works are important for the Hartley Valley and Lithgow communities, as well as those from the Central West who regularly drive the Great Western Highway to Sydney,” Mr Cobb said. “The Hartley Valley section of the Great Western Highway handles nearly 1000 vehicles per day with heavy vehicles making up 16 per cent of this figure.”

The heavy traffic flow on the road was evident today, with an almost unbroken stream of trucks and cars passing by, creating a very noisy place for a meeting. The need for the upgrades was discussed, with both Mr Cobb and Mr Gay commenting on the tragic accidents that have happened on that stretch of road. “There was an accident only this morning,” said Mr Cobb. “This is why we’re making sure these upgrades happen.”

This $70 million in funding will be spent on a number of locations around Hartley Valley where safety issues have been identified. The construction of turning bays, access roadways to nearby properties and lane extensions will help improve safety for travellers and traffic flow along the road.

“These are primarily safety upgrades,” said Mr Gay, commenting on the main reason for the work. “It’s important we improve this stretch of road.” Minister Gay said today’s announcement was another reminder how the NSW Liberals & Nationals are working together to deliver infrastructure communities expect and deserve.

“There were 103 crashes on this section of the Great Western Highway between 2009 and 2013 at great social and economic cost to the region and NSW more broadly,” Minister Gay said. According to Minister Gay, “The State and Federal Governments are fast tracking these upgrades to ensure these much needed improvements occur.”

Mr Cobb said this funding forms part of the Australian and NSW Governments $250 million Great Western Highway upgrade from Katoomba to Lithgow.

Work will commence later this year and will be completed in mid-2017, weather permitting.

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