NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley has said the Bells Line Expressway will never be built by any NSW government but said the Nationals kept stringing the public along.
Mr Foley said the proposed high-speed route over the Blue Mountains just wasn’t economical, and instead said the focus should be on upgrading the existing roads.
“Neither side of politics is going to build the Bells Line Expressway. We’re honest about it. The Nationals try and pretend they will do it but they never do it,” Mr Foley said.
“The problem is the NSW and federal government had a joint study and the report came back and said it doesn’t stack up economically.
“What I’m focused on is how we improve both the Bells Line of Road and the Great Western Highway to ensure people travelling to and from Sydney, and crucially, freight and produce going to market can be transported more efficiently than it is at the moment.”
Mr Foley said the Great Western Highway was the more likely road to be upgraded ‘to ensure a better trip’ but conceded even that was unlikely to reach expressway standards.
“I have to be honest, I don’t think you will be able to have a 100-kilometre per hour road the whole way through the Blue Mountains, that’s unrealistic, but there are a lot of improvements that can be done to improve the status quo,” he said.
Asked about a timeframe for those improvements to happen, Mr Foley said with $4 billion available to the government after the sale of the Snowy Mountains Scheme, the highway should be considered for some of that money.
A working party involving CENTROC has been established to determine the possible options for an expressway, while NSW Roads Minister Melinda Pavey said an “honest discussion” was needed, vowing to make public costings for long and short term works on both roads over the Blue Mountains.