A CONCEPT design has been developed and major construction will start early next year on the next upgrade of the Great Western Highway at Bathurst.
When the 18-month build is finished, Bathurst will have 11.2 kilometres of two lanes of eastbound traffic from the Stewart Street roundabout to just west of Glanmire, according to Roads and Maritime Services (RMS).
RMS western region director Alistair Lunn and Member for Bathurst Paul Toole provided an update on the $30 million project at a media conference in Raglan on Tuesday morning that was punctuated by rumbling trucks.
"It's certainly a very busy highway," Mr Lunn said.
The $30m upgrade was announced in June last year and, in the year since, preparatory work has included tree removal and surveying.
The concept design, which will be on display for feedback until August 15, now lays out the details for the upgrade.
The RMS says the highway will go from one lane each way from the edge of Kelso to Raglan to two lanes each way from Ashworth Drive, at the Big Gold Panner, to Napoleon Street, on the western edge of Raglan.
The highway will be two lanes eastbound and one lane westbound from Napoleon Street to the east of Ceramic Avenue, joining up with the existing overtaking lane near the safety cameras.
The RMS says there will also be safer turning paths at intersections on the highway.
As was the case with the $100 million upgrade of the highway through Kelso, which opened to traffic in March 2017, a shared pedestrian and cyclist path will be built as part of the work.
Mr Lunn said there would be preliminary works in the "next few months" before major construction starts early in 2020.
"We will be trying to maintain two lanes of traffic as much as we can [during construction]," he said.
He said this latest upgrade to the highway would not be as difficult as the section through Kelso.
"We don't have as many residents to interact with and it's a more rural footprint," he said.
Mr Toole said the upgrade through Raglan would cater for the future growth of the region and the $30 million investment was separate to the NSW Government's $2.5 billion commitment made last year to upgrade the highway from Lithgow to Katoomba.
"We're opening up the Central West," he said.
Deputy mayor Bobby Bourke said a lot of visitors for the Bathurst 1000 get frustrated when trying to get in and out of the city.
"But it's not just for visitors, it's also for the residents at Raglan," he said.
Drop-in sessions - where the concept design is on show and the upgrade's project team are available to talk about it - will be held at Bathurst City Centre this Thursday, July 25 from 11am to 2pm and Thursday, August 1 from 3pm to 7pm and at Raglan Community Hall this Friday, July 26 from 10.30am to 2.30pm.
The closing date for feedback is Thursday, August 15.