Blue Mountains to get Australia's longest road tunnel, promises of reduced travel times

 
Topic moved from News by bevans on 19 May 2022 14:43
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
So much for investing in faster rail and lowering emissions and turning people of truck and cars and buses.  What a blow to rail investment in NSW.  I also think this could have included a rail tunnel with the road tunnel which makes the rail system more efficient for freight and passenger.

Blue Mountains to get Australia's longest road tunnel, promises of reduced travel times

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  SinickleBird Assistant Commissioner

Location: Qantas Club at Mudgee International Airport
I know this road too well.

$8b will enable traffic to bypass 3 sets of traffic lights, and the nasty Victoria Pass.


As for Paul Toole’s 30 minutes saving “on a good day”, I could save 15 of those minutes by:

(A) synchronising the two sets of traffic lights in Blackheath, which are only 50 metres apart; and
(B) repainting the line markings at the Mt Boyce weigh station so that Sydney-bound trucks don’t have to merge then immediately de-merge.

Toole by name. Tool by nature.

In any case, the mountains residents still won’t be satisfied. Many want the tunnel to start at Katoomba and bypass Medlow Bath too. This would do wonders for local businesses (and therefore jobs in those villages) - in the wrong direction - while spending an even bigger wedge of government money.

Luckily, it isn’t real money - just taxpayer money.
  Transtopic Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney
As a regular traveller on the Great Western Highway to the Central West, I have watched with interest the gradual upgrading over the years to witness completion of the dual carriageway to Katoomba.  I would have expected that similar upgrades from Katoomba to the dual carriageway at Lithgow would continue and not an expensive long tunnel just to satisfy the NIMBYs.  It has worked well on the lower mountains and I can't see why the good burghers of Medlow Bath, Blackheath and Mt Victoria should be treated any differently.  The proposed long tunnel is pure overkill and unwarranted IMO.

The previously preferred scheme was for a short tunnel bypass of the Blackheath town centre and a similar bypass of Mt Victoria, with a long viaduct down the Victoria Pass escarpment to Little Hartley, where it would link with the proposed upgrade of the highway on the River Lett hill to Lithgow.  The existing highway between Katoomba and Blackheath through Medlow Bath and from the Blackheath tunnel to Mt Victoria would be upgraded to 4 lane dual carriageways in a similar manner to previous upgrades further down the mountains.  The problem with building a long tunnel, aside from the cost, is that it is unlikely to provide connectivity between the town centres with an upgraded surface link, which would be bypassed.  As mentioned above, local businesses would suffer in being bypassed as it is unlikely that there would be any entry/exit links to the respective town centres.
  UpperQuad Locomotive Fireman

Location: 184.8 miles to Sydney
So much for investing in faster rail and lowering emissions and turning people of truck and cars and buses.  What a blow to rail investment in NSW.  I also think this could have included a rail tunnel with the road tunnel which makes the rail system more efficient for freight and passenger.

Blue Mountains to get Australia's longest road tunnel, promises of reduced travel times
bevans
Little Hartley end of the tunnel is nowhere near a railway line, the tunnel would likely be too steep, and would be of no use to rail. Except in a Sunday traffic jam, Lithgow to Katoomba takes about 45 minutes to drive, and the section that the tunnel bypasses does not take 30 minutes to traverse now, so the claimed time saving is fanciful. Those pushing for an extension of the tunnel to bypass Medlow Bath are dreaming.
  s3_gunzel Not a gunzel developer

Location: Western Sydney, AU
So much for investing in faster rail and lowering emissions and turning people of truck and cars and buses.  
bevans
A tunnel that shortens the time that trucks and cars and buses are on the road will reduce emissions by virtue of it shortening the time they are on the road.
  justapassenger Minister for Railways

So much for investing in faster rail and lowering emissions and turning people of truck and cars and buses.  
A tunnel that shortens the time that trucks and cars and buses are on the road will reduce emissions by virtue of it shortening the time they are on the road.
s3_gunzel
And also by reducing the amount of hill climbing and accelerating out of curves.
  tom9876543 Chief Train Controller

I have read about the following problems with this proposed tunnel:

1) Making the road toll free is unfair. The new road tunnels in Sydney are all tolled. Why isn't this tunnel tolled as well? It is unfair to all the NSW tax payers who don't live in the Lithgow / Bathurst region. This road tunnel should be tolled for fairness reasons.

2) B-Double trucks are not allowed to travel on the Great Western Highway over the Blue Mountains. Why would you build an $11 billion road tunnel when a significant number of vehicles can't use it? Does the NSW Govt have a secret plan to allow B-Doubles on the Great Western Highway?
  Transtopic Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney
I have read about the following problems with this proposed tunnel:

1) Making the road toll free is unfair. The new road tunnels in Sydney are all tolled. Why isn't this tunnel tolled as well? It is unfair to all the NSW tax payers who don't live in the Lithgow / Bathurst region. This road tunnel should be tolled for fairness reasons.

2) B-Double trucks are not allowed to travel on the Great Western Highway over the Blue Mountains. Why would you build an $11 billion road tunnel when a significant number of vehicles can't use it? Does the NSW Govt have a secret plan to allow B-Doubles on the Great Western Highway?
tom9876543
The difference is that the tolled road tunnels in the Sydney metro area are urban road tunnels and upgrades to the Great Western Highway, similar to the Pacific Motorway, Princes Motorway and Hume Motorway are on major regional and interstate highways which are generally fully funded by government without tolls.

The State government may find it difficult to convince the new Federal Labor government to contribute to the cost when a cheaper option, i.e. two short tunnels with surface upgrading, would be possible.

When the full upgrade of the Great Western Highway to Lithgow is completed, then B-Doubles may well be warranted.  They would still bypass townships such as Blackheath and Mt Victoria.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Cannot toll Federal roads.

However with the change in energy source used for road transport, ie EV over hydrocarbon, then the feds income stream will continue to decline and rapidly. This may change the road funding in the future with Feds either pulling out, changing the constitution (unlikely) or other means. ie the state contracts out for a private road which is then tolled.
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
I have read about the following problems with this proposed tunnel:


2) B-Double trucks are not allowed to travel on the Great Western Highway over the Blue Mountains. Why would you build an $11 billion road tunnel when a significant number of vehicles can't use it? Does the NSW Govt have a secret plan to allow B-Doubles on the Great Western Highway?
tom9876543

Interesting point.

Why cant the tunnel be bi-modal with road and rail?
  michaelgm Chief Commissioner

I have read about the following problems with this proposed tunnel:


2) B-Double trucks are not allowed to travel on the Great Western Highway over the Blue Mountains. Why would you build an $11 billion road tunnel when a significant number of vehicles can't use it? Does the NSW Govt have a secret plan to allow B-Doubles on the Great Western Highway?

Interesting point.

Why cant the tunnel be bi-modal with road and rail?
bevans
Likely too step for rail traffic and then what would be the exit strategy on the western side/forty bends?
With unlimited funds, a direct route from Mount Victoria to west of Farmers creek/ GWH over bridge Marangaroo, by passin Bell, Tunnels and Lithgow completely.

Bathurst bullet is tabled for 48 minutes Lithgow Mount Victoria section the above would be 20 or just under.
  GrahamH Chief Commissioner

Location: At a terminal on the www.
Cannot toll Federal roads.

However with the change in energy source used for road transport, ie EV over hydrocarbon, then the feds income stream will continue to decline and rapidly. This may change the road funding in the future with Feds either pulling out, changing the constitution (unlikely) or other means. ie the state contracts out for a private road which is then tolled.
RTT_Rules
Hmm... The Toowoomba bypass aka Toowoomba Range Second Crossing is named Warrego Highway and is tolled for all users.

The part of the Warrego Hwy which is now bypassed is now Toowoomba Connection Rd. Heavy vehicles with no business in Toowoomba are fined for not using the bypass.

Could have been true once. The Pacific Highway/M1 dual carriageway North from Berowra was tolled for a couple of decades. The old Hwy was always available as an alternative.

I've been told that the vehicular ferry crossing the Parramatta River/Sydney Harbour from Mortlake, near where the gas works were, existed because the road bridge at Meadowbank was tolled originally. I open to more info here.
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
https://www.smh.com.au/politics/nsw/nsw-told-to-put-high-profile-road-transport-projects-on-ice-20220530-p5app7.html

This article is suggesting that InfraNSW is going to tell the Govt to put it on ice (with a few other mega projects) in favour for smaller higher return projects.
  alleve Junior Train Controller

Location: T4 Illawarra Line
Making the road toll free is unfair. The new road tunnels in Sydney are all tolled. Why isn't this tunnel tolled as well? It is unfair to all the NSW tax payers who don't live in the Lithgow / Bathurst region. This road tunnel should be tolled for fairness reasons.
tom9876543
That's the first time I've ever seen anyone advocate for tolls for the reason of fairness
  nswtrains Chief Commissioner

2) B-Double trucks are not allowed to travel on the Great Western Highway over the Blue Mountains. Why would you build an $11 billion road tunnel when a significant number of vehicles can't use it? Does the NSW Govt have a secret plan to allow B-Doubles on the Great Western Highway?

Interesting point.

Why cant the tunnel be bi-modal with road and rail?

What "secret plan"? B-doubles under 19m length have been using the Great Western Highway for years. Longer vehicles are restricted, particularly by Victoria Pass which the proposed tunnel bypasses.
As has now been stated several times, the tunnel would be unsuitable for rail, and its western end is nowhere near a railway line. The cost of construction of a suitable new railway route would make this project seem like a bargain, and the road upgrade would still be needed anyway!
UpperQuad
They are called A doubles and have a lower axle load than B doubles which are banned.
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
According to the Infrastructure organisation for NSW this project is likely not to proceed based on construction cost.
  UpperQuad Locomotive Fireman

Location: 184.8 miles to Sydney
They are called A doubles and have a lower axle load than B doubles which are banned.
nswtrains
https://roads-waterways.transport.nsw.gov.au/business-industry/heavy-vehicles/road-access/restricted-access-vehicles/b-doubles.html
  ANR Chief Commissioner

I was driving through this so called Great Western Highway on the weekend (unfortunately), and saw a bit of activity near Blackheath station. Looked as if they were doing something to the track or the platform (I think I saw other work at Mount Victoria as well - probably more widening). Maybe it has to do with the NFI trains not fitting in? Anyhow. If it snows in this location in the coming days and the highway is cut off, how are the locals or wannabe rail pax (from either direction) going to get where they need to go if there are no trains running?

This road is a complete embarrassment and a nuisance. If the tunnel is cancelled to Hartley, they should just plough through with a dual carriageway using the existing "road" and create a series of shorter tunnels wherever there are pinch points. Alternatively, send the railway underground instead and use the existing rail corridor to widen the highway.
  Transtopic Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney
This road is a complete embarrassment and a nuisance. If the tunnel is cancelled to Hartley, they should just plough through with a dual carriageway using the existing "road" and create a series of shorter tunnels wherever there are pinch points.
ANR
Until recently, this was the original plan, as I alluded to above.  Two short tunnels bypassing the Blackheath and Mt Victoria townships with upgraded surface dual carriageways, similar to earlier upgrades to Katoomba, which would connect with the River Lett Hill and 40 bends upgrades.  This is not a motorway and doesn't warrant an expensive long tunnel which would likely dispense with upgrades to the existing highway connecting the townships.

The funding for a long tunnel would be better spent on a start to the proposed longer term motorway standard highway along the Bells Line of Road corridor from the M7 to the GWH at Marangaroo, bypassing Lithgow.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
This road is a complete embarrassment and a nuisance. If the tunnel is cancelled to Hartley, they should just plough through with a dual carriageway using the existing "road" and create a series of shorter tunnels wherever there are pinch points.
Until recently, this was the original plan, as I alluded to above.  Two short tunnels bypassing the Blackheath and Mt Victoria townships with upgraded surface dual carriageways, similar to earlier upgrades to Katoomba, which would connect with the River Lett Hill and 40 bends upgrades.  This is not a motorway and doesn't warrant an expensive long tunnel which would likely dispense with upgrades to the existing highway connecting the townships.

The funding for a long tunnel would be better spent on a start to the proposed longer term motorway standard highway along the Bells Line of Road corridor from the M7 to the GWH at Marangaroo, bypassing Lithgow.
Transtopic
Agree, expect a very light version of this project or none at all.

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