TfNSW to widen the GWH west bound shoulder @ Faulconbridge in 2022
The Blue Mountains Cycling Safety Forum Inc. welcomes the announcement by Transport for NSW (TfNSW) that it is commencing planning to improve safety for cyclists and other road users travelling along the Great Western Highway between Faulconbridge and Linden. The BMCSF has been campaigning since 2017 to widen road shoulders in the area to protect vulnerable road users. The BMCSF has been campaigning since 2017 to widen road shoulders in the area to protect vulnerable road users. Data from TfNSW’s Centre for Road Safety indicates there have been 18 crashes between 2015-19 involving 20 injuries, including 10 serious on the GWH within a 500 metre radius of Bellevue Road.
The proposed $2m in capital works, funded by the Commonwealth, involves relocating the roadside barrier and widening the westbound shoulder (west of the Metro Petroleum at Faulconbridge) to provide a two metre sealed shoulder. TfNSW have said that development work for the project will start in July this year with road work scheduled to begin in early 2022.
The BMCSF thanks TfNSW for its constructive engagement with BMCSF to address the most dangerous pinch point between Weemalla Ave and Bellevue Road pending a longer term major upgrade of the section. Currently, the 80km speed limit west bound blind corner after the Metro Petroleum has a road shoulder of less than 30cm between the fog line and roadside barrier. The consequence being that cyclists must use the traffic lane, placing them in harm’s way.
The widening of the west bound shoulder to 2 metres will protect all vulnerable road users, including broken down motorists as well as cyclists. Significantly, it also supports a safer road system. An Austroads study in 2014 found that sealed shoulders, roadside barriers and centre line wire rope safety barriers would have provided protection from the consequences of driver errors occurring in 63% of crashes in the study.
The BMCSF wishes to acknowledge TfNSW and in particular the GWH Development Team under Alistair Lunn’s leadership for their professionalism and genuine engagement with the Blue Mountains community. The BMCSF looks forward to working with TfNSW over the coming years to plan the full highway upgrade between Faulconbridge and Linden, including investigating options for an off road cycle path as part of any major civil works project.