Camera Girl asked the other day if the widening was because of increased traffic so I did a bit of research.
The highway serves three functions as:
- The chief road freight route to the west so big trucks
- A major tourist road being not far from Sydney with unique sights to see. So especially busy on weekends.
- The 'main street' of many of the towns and villages along the 100km length of the road over the mountains. Because of the terrain there is basically just one access road across the mountains, and there are parts where we have no alternative but to use the highway, there is no side road around it.
The highway was narrow and undivided (two lanes) and in parts very bendy so difficult for trucks to negotiate. The work has been to make it four lanes divided all the way from the bottom of the mountains to Katoomba and 3 lanes after that.
So there has been aspects of road safety as well as carrying an increasing load of traffic and improving local amenity. The downside for people "passing through" to the west has been the addition of many more sets of traffic lights but useful for those of us who need to get in and out of the road. Also the highway tends to split most of our towns/villages in half so people need to be able to get across. In Lawson we have an underpass near the railway station and shops. This is a shot looking towards the shops with the railway station in the distance on the right.
I think this was the best solution given there's not many other ways to cross the mountains. The only other ways would be to improve Bells Line of Road (very costly), or to dig a tunnel underneath the mountains (impossibly costly/take forever/Greens opposition).ReplyDelete
Yes those are the only alternatives. Anyone who thinks there will be a tunnel has to be dreaming.Delete
Was any consideration given to looping around towns/villages rather than splitting them in two. When the works were done on the Hume Hwy, they took it away from places like Gundagai. I guess there are issues either way, but at least the amenity of the village would be retained.ReplyDelete
Julie you must remember the terrain of the mountains. There are great cliffs and wilderness to both the north and south. The railway, highway, and villages follow a ridge line the only passable track across. It is not by accident that the highway pretty much follows the path of the explorers and Macquaries road. And if it was possible to make a deviation in thru the national park what would be the chances of that!ReplyDelete
I just thought, perhaps, it was wider than that.Delete
I would not want it to go through a National Park. And a tunnel is not something our state can afford.
There are of course parts of the passage through the mountains that are wider than others. That is for example where the bigger towns such as Katoomba lie. But there are other parts which are narrow and hence offer no alternative route. At Woodford Bends for example they had to do a lot of cutting and filling to get rid of those bends.ReplyDelete
Any chance of illustrating some of this? If not now, later.ReplyDelete