Aecom Australia has won an environmental assessment contract for Australia’s longest road tunnel, which will connect Blackheath and Little Hartley in the Blue Mountains area of New South Wales (NSW).
The 11km-long tunnel will be a central component of the Great Western Highway upgrade between Katoomba and Lithgow. John Barilaro, NSW’s deputy premier, said: “This project will transform journeys between the Central West and the East Coast for locals, truckies and tourists.
“Aecom Australia are industry leaders in their field and bring extensive, demonstrated experience in the environmental assessment of roads and tunnels, having worked on major infrastructure projects, including NorthConnex and the M6 Stage 1.
“They have also demonstrated a comprehensive understanding of the unique and sensitive Blue Mountains environment and will be working to develop rigorous measures to avoid and mitigate impacts from the tunnel work.”
Paul Toole, NSW’s minister for transport and roads, said: “Aecom Australia will now need to ensure that the project includes appropriate measures to protect the Blue Mountains’ natural heritage.
“This critical work will focus on continuing the detailed environmental investigations to confirm the feasibility of a tunnel in this location, and will provide the basis for the Environmental Impact Statement, due for extensive community consultation next year.”
Construction of the tunnel is due to begin in 2024.
Image: Australia’s Blue Mountains (DuncanSharrocks/Dreamstime)