Mitchell Highway safer with new wire rope safety barriers complete

Ongoing upgrades of the Mitchell Highway are already delivering safer journeys between Bathurst and Orange in the New South Wales central west, with new wire rope barriers preventing dozens of potential crashes.

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

So far it has included 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.

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 a range of safety measures including the installation of audio tactile line marking (rumble strips) to alert drivers when they have crossed the centre line or run off the road.

As well, roads have 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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Rope barrier images:

Quotes attributable to Federal Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Carol Brown:

“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.

“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.

“These are stark figures that illustrate just how important it is to invest in improved safety on regional roads, helping to ensure motorists get home safely to their families every time.”

Quotes attributable to NSW Minister for Regional Roads and Transport Jenny Aitchison:

“It’s great to see these flexible wire rope barriers doing the job they were intended to do and saving lives on the Mitchell Highway.

“We know there is more to do to reduce risk and improve safety on our roads and that’s why we’re investing a record $2.8 billion in road safety over the next four years as part of our plan to build better communities and a better NSW.”

Quotes attributable to State Member for Orange Phil Donato:

“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.

"I am delighted to see the work that has been completed now between Bathurst and Orange and I will continue advocating to ensure residents living in the Central West and regional NSW continue to have access to their vital road safety funding."

Quotes attributable to NSW Government Duty MLC for Orange and Bathurst Stephen Lawrence:

“The NSW Labor Government understands the need for continuing investment in regional roads to ensure the safe and efficient movement of local residents, tourists and vital freight around the state.

“The $95.9 million spent on these upgrades is not only an investment in the Central West, but also a commitment to doing what we can to ensure regional motorists get home safely to their families every time.”