The twin routes across the Blue Mountains today - the Great Western Highway and the Bells Line of Road - are not able to adequately cater for the growing residential, agriculture, industrial, education, health, lifestyle and tourist potential of the Central West.
The Bells Line Expressway is therefore a vital infrastructure project which would strengthen links between Sydney and the Central West of NSW.
Ease of access to Central NSW is fundamental to the growth of Sydney, the State and the Nation. With Sydney's population growing rapidly, the Bells Line Expressway will allow the development of new population expansion areas to ensure people have access to affordable and enjoyable lifestyles.
The Expressway will reduce travel times between Lithgow and Windsor by approximately 25 minutes for cars and 20 minutes for trucks. Such a dramatic decrease in travel times that once the Expressway is completed, it will be faster to travel from Windsor to Lithgow than from Windsor to Sydney's CBD.
The Bells Line Expressway is planned to be a 100 - 110 km/hr four lane route (a dramatic increase from the current 80km/hr road with the limited overtaking opportunities) with the provision for rail and other services, including water and energy. The Expressway is targeted to have an average speed of 90 km/hr and a gradient of less than 7% making it suitable for all types of vehicles including B-Double trucks.
The total cost of the project is estimated to cost around $3 billion. While the cost is considerable because of the terrain, it is the difficult terrain that makes improvement crucial.
Eastern Precinct North 1
Central Precinct 2
Central Precinct 1
Eastern Precinct North 2
Eastern Precinct South 1
Western Precinct South
Western Precinct North 1
Western Precinct 3
The preferred option supported by the Bells Line Expressway Group (BLEG) invloves a high-speed road link bypassing Lithgow to the north. This option has less steep grades and only minor creek crossings. It is referred to as the "Newnes Plateau" option.
The preferred option supported by BLEG invloves a high-speed road link with lower speed sections including Mount Tomah where a tunnel is being considered. Includes bypasses of towns such as Berambing and Bilpin.
A lower speed section generally along the existing alignment is the preferred option for the Eastern Precinct. This enables better servicing of existing local traffic needs and enables effective integration with likely future expansion of residential development in the area.