Mayors across the region have expressed their disappointment after hearing reports there were an extra three to five hours added to Sydney visitors’ journeys over the Easter long weekend.
“It is frustrating to hear and it affects our reputation. We do not want to deter folk from coming back. We need to fast track a safe swift link from Sydney to Central NSW,” said Councillor John Medcalf OAM, Chair of Central NSW Joint Organisation, Mayor of Lachlan Shire Council.
“Currently the Bells Line of Road is either closed or open to one lane and while we welcome the $2.5 billion spend on the Great Western Highway (GWH) improvements, the community along the GWH cannot be happy with the gridlock situation either,” said Cr Medcalf.
The Central NSW JO Councils are seeking to work with the Western Sydney Councils and key stakeholders for solutions before the next federal election. “The many existing state and federal transport plans acknowledge the need for a safe swift link in the longer term – whenever that is. For over a decade, NSW Regional Transport Plans have talked about a long term solution, but we are no closer,” said Cr Medcalf.
While the immediate issue is to enable tourism, a safe swift link is required for freight and the economic development of this region. “Looking at the recent flooding events in Western Sydney, we know that they need better evacuation routes. At the moment, we have a corridor for a future upgrade ending in the Nepean. That is hardly a flood evacuation route,” said Cr Medcalf.
“We need a time frame and action that we can support in achieving that timeframe,” said Cr Medcalf.
“In the meantime, we need to work with our friends and relatives in Sydney to encourage them to stay an extra night or two to avoid the traffic jam in both directions,” said Cr Medcalf.