Roads and Maritime Services works closely with local councils, residents, community groups and local Aboriginal land councils, the NSW Heritage Office and other government departments and agencies to determine and minimise the impact of projects on significant heritage sites.
The original Great Western Highway corridor to Bathurst, the Cox's Pass, was opened in 1815, shortly after Blaxland, Wentworth and Lawson became the first Europeans to cross the Blue Mountains in 1813.
The State Government and Roads and Maritime Services recognise the historic importance of this road corridor and carefully consider and manage both its heritage value and the natural environment.
Working with council the local character of townships and acknowledging their history through appropriate urban design initiatives is integral to the upgrade, as is the preservation of significant local, natural and cultural landmarks.
Roads and Maritime Services identifies features or items of Aboriginal heritage before, or during, construction works by involving representatives of the Aboriginal community. Any items, or areas, identified as being of heritage significance are recorded and/or preserved.
Historically significant sites along the Great Western Highway
Wherever possible Roads and Maritime Services has planned the highway works to retain and restore items of heritage significance to the community. These include:
- The successful relocation and restoration of Lawson Baptist Church and Tahlia in 2006.
- A revised highway realignment design so that only the extension of the portico on the Mechanics Institute building will be removed.
- A design for Douglass Square that complements the war memorial and the site's sense of history.
- Only the 1940s addition to the front facade of the Blue Mountains Hotel is being removed.
- Retention of four recognized heritage residences west of Lawson shops, with one of the residences relocated further back on its block.
- Retention of the State Heritage listed railway pedestrian ramp to the station with adjustments.