The contract for western section of New South Wales’s Great Western Highway upgrade between Katoomba and Lithgow has been awarded, with construction set to start from March 2023.

Deputy New South Wales Premier, Minister for Regional New South Wales and Member for Bathurst, Paul Toole, announced Ertech had been awarded the contract for work on a new interchange at Cox Rivers Road in Little Hartley.

“This is another step forward in our plan to deliver a better road through the mountains for the thousands of people who use the Great Western Highway every day,” Mr Toole said.

The Coxs River Road intersection is at the western foot of the Blue Mountains and is the gateway for thousands of vehicles every day, either making their way over the mountains towards Sydney or towards the Central West.

Work will start to duplicate 2.4km of existing highway at Little Hartley to create a four-lane divided carriageway and a safer, faster trip for motorists.

“The New South Wales and Federal Government is building the legacy infrastructure that our communities deserve now and into the future,” Mr Toole said.

The new interchange will ensure motorists can safely travel over the new highway, and work will also include realigning parts of the existing highway to create a local service road, and upgrades to the intersections with Browns Gap Road and Baaners Lane.

“These upgrades will reduce highway traffic through the historic township of Little Hartley, making the area more pleasant for locals and visitors alike,” Mr Toole said.

New South Wales Minister for Regional Transport and Roads, Sam Farraway, said the new Coxs River Road interchange was a significant milestone as it marked the start of work on the west section of the Great Western Highway Upgrade.

“Once completed, the west section is planned to connect to what will be Australia’s longest tunnel between Little Hartley and Blackheath, and continue on through a surface upgrade between Blackheath and Katoomba, more than doubling the highway’s capacity between Katoomba and Lithgow,” Mr Farraway said.

“The announcement of an award of contract for the Coxs River Road interchange is a significant and exciting step forward in the Great Western Highway Upgrade and follows the award of contract for the upgrade of the Medlow Bath section to Abergeldie Complex Infrastructure in December 2022.”

Early work at Coxs River Road began in September 2022, with relocation of overhead power lines and underground communication assets underway in preparation for the major construction work.

Together, the New South Wales and Federal Governments have committed more than $2.5 billion towards the East and West sections of the Great Western Highway Upgrade, between Katoomba and Blackheath, and between Little Hartley and Lithgow.

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