Protecting Wilderness and National Parks

Mt Vic – the existing Road Alignment - another ‘least worst solution’

“The decision to put the new highway to the west off the Blue Mountains plateau down the existing road alignment using a short tunnel and ramp is may be the ‘least worst option' but will have major impacts on the local environment,” said Keith Muir director of the Colong Foundation for Wilderness.

“Today Minister for Roads, Michael Daley, announced the “Orange Corridor” option this morning at a meeting held at Mt Victoria . This corridor goes around the back of the town, some say it goes through the back of the town, and then by a short tunnel at the top of Victoria Pass ”, he said.

“It is easy to understand why the local community booed the Minister's announcement in these days of ‘least worst planning'. Integrating transport needs and modernising the rail system are matters of national importance but the billions for roads just keeps coming step by step, project by project”, said Mr Muir.

“If this corridor proceeds to construction it is hard to see how scenic Berhofers Pass, a popular and historic walking track below Mt Victoria, and the scenic gully in which it is located can be saved. It will probably be smothered by thousands of tonnes of rubble and concrete,” he said.

“The poorly located current easement for River Lett pass will no doubt be avoided by a road diversion to reduce the grade.”

“The new road corridor could encourage more big trucks to divert to this highway. And the current ban on B-double trucks using the Gt. Western Highway over the Blue Mountains will come under great pressure to be removed if the by-pass is built. The ban should remain in place in any event to prevent excessive impacts of Mountains communities that are caused by these large trucks”, Mr Muir said.

“All these impacts are pretty bad, but then if you knew the other options you would know why this is probably the ‘least worst solution' for a new highway off the Mountain” he said.

For more information contact: Keith Muir , (02) 9261 2400 (wk) or 0412 791 404 (mob)