By Laura Devoy
The New South Wales state government has pledged $2.5 billion in funding to duplicate the Great Western Highway.
Deputy Premier John Barilaro made the announcement alongside Bathurst MP Paul Toole in the central west on Wednesday.
The project will duplicate a 31-kilometre section of the highway between Katoomba and Lithgow to create a safer and more efficient road, reduce travel time, and cater for the growing population.
The project will begin with the Medlow Bath upgrade, Mount Victoria bypass, and work between Jenolan Caves Road and South Bowenfels.
It coincides with the announcement of a second ‘Bathurst Bullet’ train service, in a move Mr Toole told a community forum in Bathurst is “planning for the future of this area.”
“It gives people options, it gives people choice. It gives people connectivity, and that’s what it’s all about,” he said.
Work on the duplication project will begin in the next term of government, if the current coalition government is re-elected. The project is earmarked for completion by 2028.
Mr Toole also said the government has put aside money for roadworks on the Great Western Highway between Kelso and Raglan.
He said if re-elected, he will continue to bring projects to the region that will make a difference to the lives of people in the local community.
“The next four years we’ve got a vision as well, to go to a whole new level. Because, it’s a once in a generation opportunity to make sure now that all the groundwork has been done and the bush is going to get the policies and the investment that we have been asking for for a long period of time,” he said.
Meanwhile, work is already underway on the final stage of improvements on the Great Western Highway at Bowenfels.
More than $900,000 went into safety improvements, including improving the road surface, installing barriers and extra signage. Weather permitting, the work will be completed by late March.