News, Road upgrades, Western Australia

Work progresses on $95.9 million of safety upgrades on the Mitchell Highway

The latest in a string of upgrades to the Mitchell Highway has been completed, with new wire rope safety barriers installed between Bathurst and Orange in NSW’s central west.

Work on the $95.9 million of safety upgrades to a 50-kilometre section of highway started in 2018.

Upgrades completed to date include work at East Lucknow (completed in July 2018), Oakey Creek Lane (October 2019), Guyong (September 2022), Vittoria East and East Guyong (December 2023), and Vittoria Curve (May 2024).

The installation of flexible wire rope, when placed along the centreline of the road, provides a physical barrier between oncoming traffic travelling at up to 100 km/h in each direction.

“The Australian Government’s contribution to these works under our Road Safety Program has already paid dividends for the more than 10,000 motorists who travel the route each day by greatly reducing the risk of head-on crashes caused by driver fatigue or error,” said Federal Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Carol Brown.

“Since the installation of the flexible wire barriers in 2018 there have been more than 50 recorded wire strikes where vehicles have hit the rope running down the centre or along the edges of the highway.

“Each of these wire strikes means a vehicle may have otherwise crossed to the wrong side of the highway, avoiding a potential tragedy if a vehicle happened to be passing in the opposite direction.”

State Member for Orange Phil Donato added: “The Mitchell Highway between Bathurst and Orange is a key route not only linking two major regional centres but also linking the Central West to Sydney and the Blue Mountains.

“These safety upgrades have been focused on known crash hot spots and sections of the highway with a history of fatigue-related crashes and a high proportion of run-off-road and head-on crashes.”

Work has also started to install a dedicated turning lane at a crash hot spot at the intersection with Pretty Plains Road, due for completion in July.

Along with flexible wire barriers – which can also be placed on the edges of the road –  the Mitchell Highway upgrades also feature other safety measures including the installation of audio tactile line marking (rumble strips) to alert drivers when they have crossed the centre line or edge of the road.

Roads have also been widened, there are new and upgraded turning lanes, improved drainage and removal of some roadside vegetation to decrease the risk of black ice during the winter months.

The Mitchell Highway Bathurst to Orange safety upgrades have been jointly funded by the Australian and New South Wales governments.

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