Great Western Highway Safety Upgrade: Blackheath

Roads and Maritime Services

Blackheath, New South Wales, Australia

Roads and Maritime Services engaged Diona for the construction of safety upgrades on ‘Section D’ of the Great Western Highway between Katoomba and Mount Victoria in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney.

The safety upgrade will improve traffic flow and road user safety at several intersections along the Great Western Highway, including the main intersection in Blackheath at Govetts Leap Road and Bundarra Street.

The design for Section D included right and left turn bays to reduce rear end crashes by moving vehicles waiting to turn right out of the path of through traffic; and to improve traffic flow, allowing drivers to travel through Blackheath at a consistent speed.

There were a number of safety considerations for this project such as working on, and in the vicinity of, underground and overhead services, working on a live major road through the Blue Mountains, upgrading and modifying existing infrastructure, traffic and pedestrian management.
Minimal records of existing utilities in the ground, resulted in the team encountering unknown and unidentified underground services and contaminated soils which were all dealt with in a safe and effective method.

Due to the project’s location near the Blue Mountains, Diona’s project team had to contend with difficult weather conditions at times. Extreme weather conditions - from snow, to howling winds, to temperatures below zero degrees, resulted in the need to quickly reschedule works and change planned activities to suit the ever-changing weather conditions.

Environmental conditions such as excavation within rock and within close proximity to local residents, and working within close proximity of National Parks were also challenges that were overcome with appropriate environmental controls and monitoring.

Diona was engaged as the principal contractor to complete the following works:

  • Major asphalting works west of, and within, Blackheath Town Centre
  • Utilities adjustment including communications, overhead electrical, stormwater, gas, seven separate sections of watermain and traffic signals modifications
  • Road widening involving excavation and box out, road build up, embankments
  • Retaining wall Installation involving soil anchor nails, shotcreting, mock rock finish
  • Heavy patching and pavement construction along the full 2 kilometre stretch of highway
  • Installation of road furniture such as guard rails, median islands and gateway signage
  • Installation of pavement marking and sign posts
  • Full landscaping and revegetation of trees, shrubs and grasses.

Much of the pavement works was required to be undertaken at night to minimise the impacts on both the township and highway traffic. On completion of the project, road users will notice an improvement in the consistency of traffic flow through the township of Blackheath, with a safer ride to reduce rear end crashes by moving vehicles waiting to turn right out of the path of through traffic.