Important Info

Key Facts and Documents on the Current Katoomba to Lithgow Proposal


Katoomba to Lithgow – Proposed Great Western Highway Duplication (‘the project’) 


THE FACTS we know so far …

  • Estimated total project cost - $4.5 billion over 10 years

  • Funding announced - $268 million over 4 years

  • Election Commitment - $2.5 billion towards costs

  • Construction timeframe - to be completed by 2029


(see Liberal Party web site: Duplicating the Great Western Highway and NSW Budget Paper No. 2, Infrastructure Statement 2019-2020, Pages 5-11).

“Ultimately, this will bring the road up to the standard of other major highways, like the upgraded Pacific and Hume highways, and separate highway traffic from local traffic.” 


To be constructed to Performance Based Standard Vehicles up to30m (B-double standard), signed posted speed 80km in upper Blue Mountains and 100km in Hartley Valley.


RMS admitted no up-to-date traffic study done but 

The population in the Central West region is expected to grow by around eight per cent over the next 20 years, with the total number of vehicles travelling along the highway west of Katoomba expected to increase by at least 1.5 per cent each year,” 

Mr Toole said.


Despite TfNSW pushing ahead with community consultation, essential survey work, technical studies and environmental assessments still need to be undertaken.  And the strategic business case not completed.

Summary of the project per RMS4




1     Katoomba to Medlow Bath

    Medlow Bath

3     Medlow Bath to Blackheath

4     Blackheath

5     Mount Boyce Weighbridge to Soldiers Pinch

6     Mount Victoria bypass: Soldiers Pinch to Hartley Valley (Lolly Shop)

7     Hartley Valley (Lolly Shop) to South Bowenfels

BAG Response


This project is being driven by the need to open up the Great Western Highway to Performance Based Standard Vehicles up to30m (B-double standard).  There is a current ban on B-doubles larger than 19m on the Great Western Highway across the Blue Mountains.


However where is the consideration of freight on rail as an alternative?  


Transport for NSW has not provided any data to compare the safety and efficiency of rail freight verse road transport on the Blue Mountains corridor.  There has been no cost benefit analysis of the proposed investment by the State Government into this project to support the road transport industry compared to making similar investments on the Blue Mountains line to improve rail freight efficiency.


According to the NRMA “the Great Western Highway link between Sydney and the Blue Mountains unsuitable for B-double upgrading”.


The proposed duplication claims to reduce travel time between Lithgow and Katoomba by 10 minutes.  However the Proposed 10 minute time ‘saving’ is lost when more traffic lights are added to deal with safety, e.g. Peninsula Road, Tablelands Road, and Lithgow Hospital.


Further, serious safety concerns about road transport continue.  There has been “an increase in fatalities and serious injuries involving heavy vehicles since 2017.”  “Heavy trucks were the ‘key vehicle’ in 39% of fatal crashes in 2015 to 2017 and 59% of serious injury crashes from 2014/15 to 2016/17” according to the NSW Freight and Ports Plan 2018.


In 2012/13 road transport accounted for around 85% of greenhouse gas emissions arising from transport within NSW.


Further, by 2033 there will need to be another route across the Blue Mountains because the traffic and congestion on the highway in the lower Blue Mountains, coupled with the increased number of trucks, and increased traffic from the new Western Sydney airport.




At the Blackheath town meeting on Thursday 21 November 2019 BAG was unanimously endorsed to:


  • “lock in a broad alliance to develop a ‘climate smart’ transport infrastructure plan across the Blue Mountains. 
    This plan will -

  • safely deal with the movement of freight to Sydney and ports;

  • improve road safety and rail access for residents and visitors;

  • protect local communities and environments;

  • fight for residents and businesses impacted by possible RMS compulsory property acquisition;

  • and support the NSW Central West."


Our Priorities

  • Force the State Government to remove the Western side Blackheath from the strategic corridor area

  • Fight to prevent any property acquisitions for all residents of Blackheath

  • Get supporters to email and phone politicians (MP, see below)​

  • Advocate for smart, sustainable long term transport solutions for the Blue Mountains and Central West

Supporting Documents (Key documents shown in red text):

Click the underlined titles below to open the document in a new window, or download documents by right-clicking on the document title.


BAG and Community Documents
The Highway News 2nd Edition  'Tunnel Vision for Blackheath'


BAG Submission to the Great Western Highway Duplication Proposal.

BAG Report on Rail Freight Solutions Central West and Blue Mountains - 6th August 2020

Blackheath Area Community Alliance Letter to Paul Toole re Strategic Area Corridor - 8 October 2020

Government Proposals / Reviews / Surveys / Updates - GWH Duplication

Transport for NSW statement on GWH Upgrade Through Blackheath  21 November 2019: 

191121 Great Western Highway upgrade through Blackheath

Great Western Highway Upgrade Program - Community Update November 2019

Great Western Highway Upgrade Program Overview & Strategic Corridor - FAQS November 2019

Great Western Highway Katoomba-Mt Victoria Preferred Treatments Report - November 2014

"Green Light for $2.5 billion Great Western Highway Duplication"

Media Release from John Barilaro, March 2019 (Deputy Premier / Minister for Regional NSW)

Independent Review of Great Western Highway Upgrades West of Katoomba – Evans and Peck, 2012 (Independent experts Infrastructure and Logistics review commissioned by NSW Government)

Letter from Andrew Stoner MP (22-2-11) 

– Letter from former NSW deputy Premier Andrew Stoner (then leader of NSW Nationals and Shadow Minister for Roads) in support of reviewing the proposed highway upgrades west of Katoomba and prohibiting B Double trucks in excess of 19 metres through the Blue Mountains.

Click here for links to further RMS Project Documents

Government Proposals / Reviews / Studies - General

NSW Freight and Ports Plan 2018-2023

Australia Infrastructure Australia Plan 2016

Transport for NSW, Containerised Cargo Demand Assessment Central West NSW, September 2015

Central West Regional Transport Plan 2013

Central West Transport Needs Study 2009

NSW Long Term Transport Master Plan Dec 2012

Bells Line of Road Long Term Strategic Plan Complete Report 2012

Regional Development Australia - Central West Inland Rail Report 2016

Regional Development Australia - Central West Freight Study 2014

Click here for archive of documents relating to GWH Safety Upgrade / past BAG Campaigns.