Cyclists have stepped up their campaign to fix a dangerous section of the Great Western Highway at Faulconbridge ahead of the March state election.
The Blue Mountains Cycling Safety Forum (BMCSF) has written to both the Blue Mountains Labor and Liberal candidates, as well as the NSW roads minister and Labor’s roads spokeswoman, calling on them to support a highway safety upgrade estimated to cost between $14-$18 million.
The section of highway between Weemala Avenue and Bellevue Road is an 80km/hour zone with only narrow or no shoulders. At least eight people, including cyclists, have been seriously injured on this section of the highway.
BMCSF and the Penrith Cycling Club have been campaigning for emergency breakdown lanes on both sides of the carriageway to make it safer for all road users.
There is no alternative route for cyclists between Faulconbridge and Woodford, said BMCSF spokesman David Tritton.
“Not only will an upgrade make the highway safer, it is vital if the Blue Mountains is to position itself to attract a slice of the cycling tourism market,” he said. “Being so close to Sydney, the concept has real potential for success in the Blue Mountains. Cycling tourism is growing. It has delivered millions of dollars in economic benefits to many regions in Australia where governments have been prepared to invest modest sums of public money in appropriate infrastructure.”
Blue Mountains MP Trish Doyle met with BMCSF last year while the Liberal Party’s candidate for Blue Mountains, Owen Laffin, met with them in January.
“I was very impressed with the passion of the BMCSF representatives but even more so with the extent of their research and advocacy,” said Mr Laffin. “The points they made both with regard to improving safety and to the potential for local business and tourism have me convinced. If I am elected as part of the re-elected Berejiklian Liberal Government I will join the BMCSF in lobbying the minister for the road works they are seeking.”
Blue Mountains MP Trish Doyle agreed the problems along the stretch of highway “are many and varied” and criticised the government for not taking action.
“There are regularly significant crashes and terrifying near misses at this location… I have personally shown Labor’s shadow minister, Jodi McKay, the dangerous conditions at Faulconbridge. She agrees that we must take action,” she said.