In March 2019, the NSW Government announced that it would duplicate the Great Western Highway, from Katoomba to Lithgow over the next 10 years.
The Blackheath to Little Hartley section involves construction of a four-lane motorway, which includes a Mount Victoria Bypass.
A central component of this highway upgrade is a proposed 11-kilometre tunnel which would run between Blackheath, south of Evans Lookout Road and Little Hartley at the base of Victoria Pass, bypassing Blackheath and Mount Victoria.
|Mar 2019||Project Announcement|
|2022||Expected Construction Commencement|
|2026||Expected Construction Completion|
|Procuring Agency:||Transport for NSW|
|Mar 2020||Transport for NSW called for tenders to prepare a Strategic Business Case and Economic Analysis for priority projects in the Great Western Highway Upgrade Program. The successful bidder may also be required to prepare two Final Business Cases for priority projects, as determined during the development of the strategic business case. The tender process is open until 9 April 2020.|
|May 2021||The Federal Government announced $2 billion in additional funding for the Great Western Highway Upgrade in the 2021-22 Federal Budget. The NSW Government also announced that it is investigating linking the tunnels at Blackheath and Mount Victoria to create a single 11-kilometre tunnel for the project.|
|Jun 2021||The NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment Secretary's Environmental Assessment Requirements (SEARs) were requested for the Blackheath to Little Hartley section of the project. The 2021-22 NSW Budget also allocated $2 billion toward the Great Western Highway Upgrade over the next four years, including $132 million in FY2021-22. It is unclear how much this will be allocated toward the Blackheath to Little Hartley section.|
|Jul 2021||The NSW Government issued a Request for Tenders for the Technical Advisory Services and Environmental Assessment Services contracts for the project, closing on 21 and 30 July respectively.|
|Aug 2021||The NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment Secretary's Environmental Assessment Requirements were issued for the preparation of the Environmental Impact Assessment of the project.|
|Sep 2021||Transport for NSW awarded the environmental assessment contract to AECOM.|
|Nov 2021||Transport for NSW awarded the technical advisory services contract to an AECOM and Aurecon joint venture.|
|May 2022||The NSW Government confirmed an 11-kilometre tunnel from Blackheath to Little Hartley as the preferred option for the Central Package. The proposed dual carriageway tunnel would be Australia’s longest road tunnel.|
|May 2022||Infrastructure NSW's 2022 State Infrastructure Strategy recommended the project be re-sequenced to avoid delivery risks caused by complexity and a shortage of skilled labour. The NSW Government will assess the strategy's recommendations before making a decision on their implementation.|
|Jun 2022||TfNSW commenced a Market Interaction Process (MIP) on the Great Western Highway Upgrade – Central Package Blackheath to Little Hartley section, closing on 17 June. The MIP will seek updated industry feedback on the tunnel design and the proposed construction methodology.|