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The BMCSF welcomes the Blackheath Long Tunnel announcement by the Minister for Regional Roads

Updated: Mar 10

The BMCSF welcomes the NSW Government’s announcement that the long tunnel is under consideration going forward for the highway duplication at Blackheath. The announcement made by the Acting Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional Roads, Paul Toole MP, on 12 October, follows the conclusion of the Blackheath Co Design Committee who were tasked with considering 5 different route options. The Committee included members of the Blackheath community, a number of stakeholder groups, the Blue Mountains City Council emergency services and Transport for NSW. The Blue Mountains Cycling Safety Forum was represented on the committee by Blackheath resident and cyclist, Mr Damien Mah. The duplication is an opportunity for the BMCSF to work with TfNSW to ensure the upgrade (i) optimises outcomes for recreational cyclists and active transport, (ii) offers protection for vulnerable road users, (iii) improves the amenity of Blackheath and (iv) its connectivity to Katoomba and surrounding on and off road local cycling trails. We support the long tunnel option (ie. location of portals south of Evans Head Road and next to the Mount Boyce Heavy Vehicle Safety Station) because we think it is the best option to enable the delivery of these outcomes. We look forward to working closely with TfNSW, Blue Mountains Council and the broader community on the detailed design, including new cycling infrastructure and amenity for above ground main road treatments to and from the township of Blackheath, as well in Blackheath. The BMCSF wishes to thank Mr Mah and his fellow committee members for their work in carefully considering the options before them and the good faith shown. We also wish to congratulate the GWH Development Team in TfNSW for their professionalism and conduct of the meetings. The information presented on each of the options for consideration by the Committee was relevant and informed by expertise. The meetings were fair and respectful of different points of view.


Background

The co-design committee was developed to enable focused community and stakeholder input at an earlier stage of the route design process than usual. It was not a substitute for broader community consultation. Indeed, it is the BMCSF understanding that TfNSW will undertake broader consultation with the community before moving to the design phase of the preferred option. The Committee met on 5 occasions to consider 5 different route options for the Blackheath duplication section and assessed and weighted those options against 5 criteria, including: (i) Safety, (ii) Environment, (iii) Amenity, Connectivity and Liveability, (iv) Resilience and (v) Congestion and travel time reliability.



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