WORK on a $2 million bypass to reopen the Bridle Track is finally under way, more than a decade after a massive rock fall closed the popular tourist drive.
The Bridle Track was closed in 2010 after a landslide at Monaghan's Bluff and residents on the route have since kept up the pressure on Bathurst Regional Council and State Member for Bathurst Paul Toole to have it reopened.
Council received $2 million from the NSW Government in 2018 to investigate options for the track and, with heavy machinery in place on Tuesday, work officially commenced.
Mr Toole said the project, which would take about six months to complete, would prove a valuable boost to the region's tourist economy.
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"This work will again open up the area so people will be able to travel from Bathurst to Hill End, but this is also an iconic road for four-wheel-drivers, campers and fishers," he said.
"Reopening the Bridle Track brings with it significant economic benefits to the region, including the village of Hill End.
"As we come out of COVID and people start travelling around more locally, it's important to open this area up."
Mr Toole said council and the government had held a number of meetings with residents and 4WD groups.
"It's positive to see council getting on with the job. There will be a lot of enthusiastic locals looking forward to this work," he said.
The Bridle Track's history dates back in the early 1800s when it was a horse route for stockmen.
But the route first became a very busy transport corridor when gold was discovered in the Turon Valley and was used by those wanting to strike it rich during the gold rush.
The large boulder that blocked the road following the landfall in 2010 (pictured) was finally cleared in 2019 but the road remained to closed.
At the time, however, it was confirmed that council had not moved the boulder and was "unable to determine" how it was pushed off the track.
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