Latest BAG Updates

Highway Update December 2018

Last week the Blackheath Highway Action Group (BAG) committee and the Blackheath Alliance held separate meetings to discuss a way forward in relation to the proposed tree removal and construction of a retaining wall along the Great Western Highway between the Welcome to Blackheath Sign and Jellicoe Street, at the location commonly known as Hill 33.

The RMS had insisted on meeting with community representatives to discuss their plans for this section of the highway at Hill 33 the week before last.  However both BAG and the Blackheath Alliance resisted this pressure, insisting both groups be given a chance to properly work through the issues and consult with their memberships and supporters before meeting with the RMS.

It is important to note that during the last few weeks views for and against the proposed highway works at Hill 33 have been received.  The same can be said in relation to the Comments posted on the Blue Mountains Gazette Facebook page.  And Trish Doyle MP, Member for Blue Mountains told us that she had received many calls and letters against the proposed work on Hill 33 but she also received several calls and letters calling for the trees to be removed and “get on with it”.

After careful consideration it was agreed by both BAG and the Blackheath Alliance to nominate three community representatives to meet with the RMS on Monday 26 November 2018 with the aim to:

1) Raise to the RMS (and the State Government) their failure to properly consult with our community in relation to the proposed tree removal and construction of a retaining wall along the Great Western Highway between the Welcome to Blackheath Sign and Jellicoe Street, at the location commonly known as Hill 33

2) Resist the proposed tree removal and construction of a retaining wall along the Great Western Highway between the Welcome to Blackheath Sign and Jellicoe Street, on the grounds of safety and amenity.  The following points against the proposed highway works at Hill 33 were raised:

  • The section of the highway is an important entrance to our town and the vegetation is very important for the streetscape and for local residents.
  • The overtaking lane be removed and the old lane used as a 2m shoulder thereby eliminating any requirement for tree removal and the construction of a retaining wall because there is no need for an overtaking lane as it is a common view that the overtaking lane only encourages motorists to speed up coming into our town
  • The funds should be spent on more pressing safety concerns such as the installation of protected right turn lanes along the highway at Medlow Bath at the service station, and Bellevue Crescent.

3) If the RMS would not back down and proceed with the proposed tree removal and construction of a retaining wall along the Great Western Highway between the Welcome to Blackheath Sign and Jellicoe Street, then to seek the following from both the RMS and the State Government

  • Safety camera at the intersection of the highway and Govetts Leap Road / Bundarra Street to detect both speeding and red light infringements
  • Freight on rail initiatives to encourage the movement of freight by rail across the Blue Mountains
  • Appropriate finish to the retaining wall which would be in keeping with the Blackheath environment, i.e. dry stone
  • Appropriate plantings in keeping with the current streetscape, with input from the local community
  • Bunch cabling along the highway between Jellicoe Street and Abbott Street to allow for the replanting of more voluminous trees
  • Improve the footpath along the highway on the opposite side of Hill 33 to make it safer for local residents
  • Landscaping and planting in front of the Blackheath Cemetery with input from our local community
  • Landscaping and planting along the highway in front of the Hall Park
  • Construction of a new Welcome to Blackheath sign using dry stone and appropriate landscaping and plantings at the corner of Evans Lookout Road and the highway
  • Replanting of appropriate trees in the gaps along the highway through our town

The meeting with the RMS went ahead on Monday 26 November.  After 2 hours of exhaustive negotiations with the RMS, supported by Owen Laffin representing Shayne Mallard MLC, it was clear that the RMS would not back down but would proceed with the proposed tree removal and construction of a retaining wall along the Great Western Highway between the Welcome to Blackheath Sign and Jellicoe Street.  During negotiations it was revealed by the RMS that Blue Mountains City Council had indeed lobbied for the overtaking lane to be retained, with a 2m wide shoulder along the Great Western Highway between the Welcome to Blackheath Sign and Jellicoe Street, meaning the removal of trees and vegetation along this section of the highway.  We cannot verify this because Blue Mountains City Council will not make public their final submission to the RMS and or the content of their discussions and negotiations with the RMS.

However, thanks to the persistence of our community representatives the RMS and the NSW Government have agreed to the following:

a) A Safety Camera review for the intersection of the highway and Govetts Leap Road / Bundarra Street to detect both speeding and red light infringements

b) Support more freight on rail with the announcement of a freight on rail initiative to encourage the movement of freight by rail across the Blue Mountains to come before the NSW State Election (March 2019)

c) And the RMS has committed to work with the community to achieve

  • Appropriate finish to the retaining wall which would be in keeping with the Blackheath environment, (this will include an onsite visit by the RMS landscape architect)
  • Appropriate plantings in keeping with the current streetscape, with input from the local community
  • Bunch cabling along the highway between Jellicoe Street and Abbott Street to allow for the replanting of more voluminous trees
  • Review and improve the footpath along the highway on the opposite side of Hill 33 to make it safer for local residents
  • Landscaping and planting in front of the Cemetery with input from our local community
  • Landscaping and planting along the highway in front of the Hall Park with input from our local community
  • Construction of a new Welcome to Blackheath sign using dry stone and appropriate landscaping and plantings at the corner of Evans Lookout Road and the highway
  • Replanting of appropriate trees in the gaps along the highway through our town in accordance with the Master Tree Streetscape Plan prepared by Blue Mountains City Council.

The RMS will now proceed with the work along the highway at Hill 33 including tree and vegetation removal, as detailed in the latest RMS notification which can be viewed here.  The works will start on Monday 3 December 2018.

Whilst we are very disappointed with the inability of the RMS to properly consult and to compromise with our community on the proposed works Hill 33 we are pleased to have achieved the initiatives set out above, which will benefit our community greatly.

We want to thank you all for your support and patience.  We have a long way to go with this project, however we must and will continue to work with and hold the RMS to account to ensure we achieve an appropriate highway safety upgrade that improves safety whilst retaining the streetscape along the highway.

URGENT CALL TO ACTION RE HIGHWAY SAFETY WORKS – November 2018

Breaking News – BAG has learned that Shayne Mallard MLC has been successful in persuading the NSW Minister for Roads to issue a temporary stop work order to the RMS in relation to the proposed works along the highway between Hargreaves Street and Jellicoe Street at Hill 33 with immediate effect. Thanks to all those who took action to raise this issue wit local representatives. There may be a pop up consultation with the RMS later this week. Read more in the latest Blue Mountains Gazette article.  

Also email blackheathhighwayaction@gmail.com to subscribe to BAG newsletter.

The final design for the highway safety works through Blackheath, recently released by the RMS to BAG, reveals that one particular section of the proposed highway safety works, the area along the highway at Hill 33 between Hargraves Street and Jellicoe Street is hugely problematic for our community.

Hill 33 approaching Blackheath form the east

During the consultations with the RMS going back to April 2014 it was never disclosed to the community that the RMS intended to widen the highway at Hill 33 between Hargraves Street and Jellicoe Street by building a 2m wide shoulder, and constructing a 100m long and up to 2.8m high retaining wall.  This will mean all the existing trees and vegetation along that stretch of the highway will be removed.  The current rock wall will be moved back by up to 3 metres.

While we are extremely disappointed with the number of trees removed outside of Sutton Park, we are working constructively with the RMS on a landscaping plan to ensure a good outcome for our community.  Based on the design plans we accept the proposed safety upgrades for highway intersections at Govetts Leap Road, Hat Hill Road and Abbott Street.  And we intend to hold the RMS to account to ensure they deliver on these sections as promised.

But we need you to help us stop the destruction along the highway at Hill 33 between Hargraves Street and Jellicoe Street.

Please contact your local politician and tell them to STOP the RMS from unnecessarily destroying the trees and vegetation and amenity along the highway at Hill 33 between Hargraves Street and Jellicoe Street.

Kerry Brown, Councillor for Ward 1, Blue Mountains City Council (Greens) kbrown@bmcc.nsw.gov.au

Shayne Mallard MLC (NSW Government – Liberal) shayne.mallard@parliament.nsw.gov.au

Trish Doyle MP, Member for Blue Mountains (Labor) electorateoffice.bluemountains@parliament.nsw.gov.au

Phone number for Trish’s office:  4751 3298

The plan for the section of highway between Hargraves Street and Jellicoe Street (Hill 33) can be viewed here

GWH Construction Plan Hil 33 Blackheath

See the Downloads page for links to all RMS Construction Plans for GWH Safety Upgrade November 2018.

March 2017

The Blackheath Area Community Alliance and just about every kind of group in Blackheath have thrown their support behind the BAG supplementary submission to the Katoomba to Mount Victoria Safety Upgrade of the Great Western Highway – click here to view the submission

WE ARE ALSO ASKING FOR YOUR SUPPORT in requesting that the RMS install a SAFETY CAMERA at the intersection of Govetts Leap Road and the GWH – it only takes a moment!

Please click the link below to request a safety camera at the intersection of Govetts Leap Road and the highway:

saferroadsnsw.com.au/haveyoursayspeedcameras

Note that the RMS claim that, according to statistics, speed is not a problem at this intersection! Therefore we need large numbers of people requesting a safety camera here which would be instrumental in making this intersection safer by:

  • Calming traffic
  • Discouraging risky driver behaviour
  • Creating a safer crossing for pedestrians
  • Reducing speed through the intersection and village
Thank you for your support!

February 2017

Our ongoing negotiations with RMS continue, and we are pleased that they have agreed to keep the eucalypts on the north side of the Great Western Highway (GWH) between Evans Lookout Rd and Chelmsford Ave, in front of the cemetery, and between Radiance and Sunbeam Aves.

RMS have stated that they will do everything possible to keep the large plane tree on the SW corner of GWH and Bundarra St. The air spading to map the roots of this tree is scheduled for the week of  Monday 6th Feb.

We have had productive meetings with our Ward 1 Councilors and both State and Federal Members and have gained their support.

March 2016

Community responses were accepted by the RMS including a submission by BAG / Blackheath Community Alliance. Visit the  BAG RMS Submission page for more details.

February 2016

The RMS letterboxed Blackheath residents with their proposal for a safety upgrade of the highway between Katoomba and Mount Victoria. Click the link below to view this proposal:

RMS proposal February 2016.

If you’d be happy to help BAG, register your interest by emailing  blackheathhighwayaction (at) gmail.com

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