Centroc continues its push for work on expressway

THE Central NSW Councils (Centroc) group is not letting up in its push for a Bells Line Expressway over the Blue Mountains.

Members of the group renewed calls to get a motorway over the Blue Mountains because they weren’t satisfied with what they saw in the NSW Government’s draft Future Transport 2056 document and met this week to discuss how to proceed with the campaign.

The Central West and Orana branches of Regional Development Australia (RDA) have also joined the calls for an expressway.

Orange mayor Reg Kidd, the acting chairman of RDA Central West, challenged anyone to say the expressway wasn’t needed.

“We are talking about regional development here. Orange, Dubbo and Bathurst are all growing and the smaller towns can also benefit, but for that to happen you need to have a good road corridor,” he said.

“RDA Central West is behind it, Centroc is behind it and our [Orange] council is behind it.”

RDA Orana chairman John Walkom said tunnelling was the logical way to ensure a quick and easy trip through the Blue Mountains.

“What should be called for now is the tunnel and dual carriageway through to Dubbo, linking all the major highways that connect to the city, creating good connectivity - whether this is via air, road or rail,” he said.

“Telecommunications is also crucial to the growth of NSW and its regions.

“With the current amount of tunnelling happening in Sydney, the machines are ready to go once they have completed their tasks in the metropolitan area.”

Both men talked about the boost that would be provided for all towns and cities west of the Blue Mountains, but also said it would have benefits for those east of the range.

“Sydney has expanded as far as it can. House prices are unaffordable for many and the traffic is congested,” Cr Kidd said.

“We see when people move out here, they are amazed they can afford a house and their commute is short, yet they still have access to good schools for their children.”

He said it was time for politicians to make it happen.

“There have been countless studies and reports and at one stage we even had a sod turning when Russell Turner was the Member for Orange, but it still hasn’t happened.”

The Nationals’ Rick Colless, the Parliamentary Secretary for Western NSW, threw his support behind a better crossing of the Blue Mountains last month.