Great Western Highway upgrade

The upgrade of the Great Western Highway in the Blue Mountains involves widening the highway to four lanes between Emu Plains and Katoomba and to undertake highway safety improvements between Katoomba and Mount Victoria.

The Great Western Highway at Leura

The final section of the Great Western Highway upgrade between Ridge Street, Lawson and Genevieve Road, Bullaburra was completed in July 2015. This program of work now completes the upgrade of the Great Western Highway to a four lane divided road between Emu Plains and Katoomba.

Highway improvements included the installation of a centre median and wider road shoulders, dedicated right turn lanes and the realignment of intersections, resulting in faster travel times, reduced crash risk and improved local access.

During these upgrades Roads and Maritime Services have built off road pedestrian and cycle paths to connect new pedestrian bridges between railway stations and shops, improved bus stops and shelters to ensure safety and comfort for people catching public transport.

Protected centre bays were built for turning vehicles, improved drainage installed, new full size bus stop bays built and landscaping for the full length of the project.

Upgrade work completed to date has led to improved travel times for motorists as well as providing a safer road environment for all motorists, pedestrians and cyclists.

Roads and Maritime will continue to keep the local community informed of the status of the Great Western Highway upgrade through this website, community newsletters and local newspaper advertisements. 

The Great Western Highway serves as a

  • Key freight route between Sydney and the central west of NSW, including for the timber industry in the Oberon area
  • Tourist route with destinations including the Blue Mountains, Historic Hartley, Jenolan Caves, Mudgee and Bathurst
  • Connecting and local road between the many towns and villages along its length.

About 24,000 vehicles a day travel on the Blue Mountains section of the highway.  Heavy vehicles make up about 12 per cent of the traffic with more than half the road freight transport between the central west and Sydney using the Great Western Highway.

The steep grades and tight curves on Victoria Pass and River Lett Hill limit the safe operation of heavy vehicles and the often slow speed of the heavy vehicles through the mountains constrains how smaller vehicles travel.

The upgrade of the Great Western Highway is to

  • Improve road safety
  • Improve road freight efficiency
  • Cater for the mix of through, local and tourist traffic
  • Be sensitive to the area’s natural environment, heritage and local communities.
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