The New South Wales Government has announced that it will be building an 11-kilometre toll-free tunnel in the Blue Mountains.
The tunnel will run from Blackheath to Little Hartley, and once complete will be the longest road tunnel in Australia.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW, Paul Toole, said the central tunnel will reduce congestion and provide safer driving conditions for road users.
“This is a history-making legacy project that will deliver safer and more efficient journeys for locals, tourists and freight travelling between the Central West and the East Coast,” he said. “The tunnel will reduce congestion and improve safety for local residents, tourists and freight operators.”
According to Toole, the design features dual carriageways for both eastbound and westbound motorists in separate twin tunnels, and a gentler gradient to cut travel times and improve freight efficiencies.
Minister for Regional Transport and Roads, Sam Farraway, said the Blue Mountains tunnel will deliver a series of advantages which will transform Sydney and western NSW’s connection.
“It will improve the resilience of the state’s major road corridor across the Blue Mountains during traffic incidents and natural disasters and will be built to accommodate future population growth west of the Blue Mountains,” he said.
“The straighter alignment will improve road safety through the mountains and the tunnel will help unlock the potential of western NSW, for the benefit of all residents and businesses in this important part of the state.”
Farraway said the completed Great Western Highway could save motorists up to 30 minutes between Katoomba and Lithgow during busy periods.