HHAG Update No 21 – August 2013
In the last newsletter referring to the Hartley Highway Action Group’s separation from the HDPA reference was made that “This has been done to avoid continual attempts by a member minority group to prevent HHAG from carrying out the instructions of the public meeting called in October last year” Dick Austen as a member of the HDPA stated that in his opinion this should have been stated as “This has been done to avoid continual friction arising from the question of the HHAG being answerable to the HDPA or not”.
In recent weeks, the RMS has announced the implementation of two sets of point to point speed cameras to control truck speeds on River Lett Hill and Victoria Pass. This proposal is in full accord with the calls of HHAG over several years for this technology to be used in the valley and is expected to significantly improve safety on these two dangerous stretches of road. Consistent with calls by a number of residents, HHAG has made a submission to the RMS asking them to avoid impinging on the view from the Hartley Historic Site and to consider other options to mitigate the highly engineered appearance of the proposed camera mounting gantries.
A separate submission to the RMS and government is being considered in respect of the truck parking bays proposed for installation around about the area of Mid Hartley Road Highway Junction. These two bays of parking are inconsistent with the heritage landscape within which they are being placed. When there are other more suitable sites available within twenty minutes travel either way. This proposal tabled as part of the concept plan seems totally inappropriate and ignores the pleas made in the community consultation process by HHAG and many community members.
Any comments or suggestions please call Ramsay Moodie, the chairman of the HHAG committee 6355 2259.
HHAG News Update No 20 – May 2013
As noted in the Presidents report, the Hartley Highway Action Group has been separated from the Progress Association. This has been done to avoid continual attempts by a member minority group to prevent HHAG from carrying out the instructions of the public meeting called in October last year.
Since last report HHAG has made representations at both a state and federal level calling for the reclassification of Bells Line of Road to enable improvements in the safety and productivity of that road.
As we go to press the RMS has issued feedback on the safety upgrade and concept design community consultation process. Hundreds of pages of documents that warrant review have now been uploaded to the RMS website. In respect of the concept design it is noted that the proposal for a service road through Hartley Historic Site has been abandoned, however the proposal for a pair of truck parking bays has been retained, despite community objections. The RMS is now proposing to seek the inclusion of the finalised concept design in the Lithgow LEP. It is noted that the initial safety enhancements for the Forty Bends section of the road is the addition of a third lane.
Letter from Ramsay Moodie, Chairman of HHAG, 11th March 2013
HHAG as part of HDPA
The Hartley Highway Action Group (HHAG) was originally set up independent of the HDPA. Funds it raised were always placed with the HDPA as a convenient community funds repository. Within twelve months of establishment, HHAG discussed the benefits of incorporation and the potential/logic of being a sub committee of the HDPA. Following a discussion I had with Seamus Casey, the then president, it was agreed we should operate as a subcommittee of the HDPA. As Seamus said at the time he regarded HDPA as a vehicle that could be used by any community interest group based in the valley to pursue their cause. Thus we became a sub committee of the HDPA, without any written mandate covering our operations.
I have always taken the view that we, the committee of the HHAG, are accountable to the broader community and not the HDPA. Each member has been elected from the floor of one of the eight public meetings we have held or, like myself, have been co opted to the committee and their appointment has been subsequently confirmed at the next public meeting called by the HHAG committee. Our appointment has been by the community to effect the implementation of the strategy agreed by the community at the various public meetings relating to the highway upgrade.
The modus operandi of HHAG does not fit comfortably within the Constitution of the HDPA as updated in 2011. It does not have a written mandate specifying its powers (that requirement didn’t exist in the pre 2011 constitution) and like the 1813 committee it is not comprised wholly of financial members of the HDPA, a requirement implied in the 2011 constitution.
In a paper prepared by Dick Austen it has been proposed that HHAG be made subservient to the HDPA. Furthermore Dick has made it clear that he rejects much of the current strategy being pursued by HHAG despite that it is a series of actions properly resolved by our last public meeting on the road (which resolutions largely reconfirmed the directions given by earlier meetings) .
HHAG has always reported to HDPA orally in some detail and since inception has issued nineteen written briefings. We have endeavoured to operate a system that is both transparent and efficient, for instance all outward correspondence is circulated to the committee prior to despatch for critique by the full committee. Given that such communications are invariably consistent with the strategy direction given by the general meetings there has never been need for further review outside the HHAG committee, particularly given the specialised nature of some of the content.
I think all on the HHAG committee would be of the view that they serve the community through a public meeting process that the whole of our community has been invited to participate in. They have been appointed from the floor of public meetings and are thus accountable to those meetings or the community from which the attendees of those meeting were drawn. In short they are obligated to pursue the strategy their constituency has ‘imposed’ on them.
To resolve the problem raised by Dick, we could write up a mandate for the HHAG that captures the principles of the HHAG committee (sub committee) being accountable to the broader community and rectify any issue of non HDPA member membership. The latter could be done by amending the constitution or doing it less formally as we have in the case of the 1813 committee by specifying that non members ( up to number of) be allowed on the committee. Alternatively HHAG committee members could choose to pay their $5 to join the HDPA.
Alternatively HHAG could be removed from the HDPA.
HHAG Update February 2013
Since our public meeting last October, the committee of the Hartley Highway Action Group has taken a number of steps to implement the decisions of that meeting, including writing to the RMS, our local members, both federal and state and the Mayor of Lithgow City Council. Those communications have also gone to relevant state and federal ministers. We have also had deputations meet with Paul Toole, our local member and Maree Statham the Mayor of Lithgow City Council. We reiterated our demands and took time to ensure a full understanding of the process by which the Hartley community had determined its position on the various issues.
Enquiries of the RMS suggest that we will not hear further feedback until mid year. At that time there will be a response and consultation on the various submissions made to the RMS on the Concept Design and the proposed Safety Enhancements. The RMS is currently running consultation workshops in the Mountains regarding the proposal to effect safety enhancements on the Katoomba to Mt Victoria section of the highway.
Anybody wishing to discuss any aspect of the highway issue please call the Chairman Ramsay Moodie on 63552259
The Hartley Highway Action Group’s Submission to the RMS on the Mt Victoria to Lithgow Superhighway Concept Plan and proposed Safety Upgrade can be found here:
Examples of other submissions to the RMS can be viewed here also:
and specifically on the proposed Safety Upgrade:
The story so far……..October 2012
The Hartley Highway Action Group (HHAG) was formed in 2008 as a sub committee of the Hartley District Progress Association to resist the Roads and Maritime Services proposal to consider four different road route options across the Hartley Valley that would irrevocably disfigure this historic valley.
Since its establishment, HHAG has held seven public meetings to inform the community and to seek formal direction. Such meetings have been called via notices issued to the five hundred plus households within the valley .
Since inception, HHAG’s primary line of argument has been that it does not make sense to have through highway traffic descend into the valley and then climb out the other side when it would be quite possible to go North from Mt Victoria across the Darling Causeway to Bell and then across the Newnes plateau to rejoin the existing highway past Lithgow. It has also lobbied the need for freight to generally go by rail rather than road. It has also consistently called for enhanced safety on the existing road
Despite the promotion of the Newnes option, the government/RMS settled on developing the existing line of highway. This option valued at some $2billion doesn’t make sense when the cost of cutting a road via Newnes was costed at <$1 bn. Significantly the Newnes route could also be used as the western end of a Bells Line of road expressway (a key National Party aspiration) if that oft talked of road ever needs to be developed.
The long term proposal the RMS has now tabled in its July 2012 concept design brochure, comprises a major expressway style road through the valley and an associated service road running largely in parallel, all running close to the existing line of road. Many issues have been identified in the RMS consultation meetings on this proposal; the previously unannounced truck stops, running the service road through the heritage rich Little Hartley and Hartley Villages and the difficulty of north south movements in the valley under the proposal. There are also many instances of people’s properties being compromised by the proposal. This proposal may never be implemented as it is enormously expensive and gives little return, it is however going to be locked in as a firm proposal and needs to be be responded to.
HARTLEY VALLEY RESIDENTS’ PUBLIC MEETING
Saturday 20th October 2012 at Hartley School Hall Building
Thank you, to all who attended, and to others who played such an important part in making this a successful meeting.
Some of the comments received following the meeting.
“Standing room only”
“The best community meeting I have attended. Thank you”.
“Congratulations Ramsay and Susie and the team for…bringing out the community, conducting an inclusive, fair, civil and bonding meeting…arriving at a very clear position”.
“Thanks for crystalising our thinking on the issue. I now understand what’s really at stake here”.
“Most serious is the effect on landowners of the massively overscaled concept design”.
“Thank you for making the public meeting a success”.
Resolutions of the Meeting:
“That the government be lobbied to classify the Bells Line of Road as a national transport grid road that would qualify it for federal funding in order to enable some safety and productivity enhancements to be undertaken supported partly by federal funding”
This motion was carried unanimously.
“That calls for the Newnes Plateau option be abandoned”
An amendment was moved to replace “abandoned” with “retained”
The amendment was carried,and the amended motion was put:
“That calls for the Newnes Plateau option be retained”.
This motion was carried.
“That the purple corridor originally proposed by the RTA for a highway via Hartley Vale and across to Fernhill be reconsidered”.
The motion was lost.
“That the RMS Concept Design of July 2012 be abandoned and the existing highway be enhanced to achieve optimal safety”.
The motion was carried.
“That the Concept Design and Road Boundaries proposed by the RMS be rejected in their entirety and that the boundaries proposed in their report not be reflected in the LCC LEP”.
The motion was carried.
“That the safety design now released by RMS is lacking and requires further consultation and an extension of two months to provide public submissions”.
The motion was carried.
Important Public Meeting
for Hartley Residents
To be held at the Hartley School Hall
3.30 pm Saturday 20th October 2012
It has been proposed by a group of Valley residents, that consideration of a Mt Victoria to Lithgow Great Western Highway Upgrade (the purple corridor) through Hartley Vale should be revived, and that the previously agreed call for a Newnes option be abandoned. This call is totally contrary to the instructions given to the Hartley Highway Action Group (HHAG) thus far at public meetings, and you are urged to attend and have your say. Items on the agenda for discussion at the meeting will include;
- • That the Concept Design and Road Boundaries proposed by the RMS be rejected in its entirety and that the boundaries proposed in their report not be reflected in the LCC LEP.
- • That the RMS Concept Design of July 2012 be abandoned and the existing highway be enhanced to achieve optimal safety.
- • That the purple corridor originally proposed by the RTA for a highway upgrade across the north of the valley via Hartley Vale and across to Fernhill be reconsidered.
- • That calls for the Newnes plateau option be abandoned.
- • That the government be lobbied to classify the BLOR as a national transport grid road that would qualify it for federal funding in order to enable some safety and productivity enhancements to be undertaken supported partly by federal funding.
Please join us to consider alternatives.
Does the Hartley Valley community want the existing road retained but made safer?
Or do we want to lobby for a new line of road to be developed across the north side of the valley?
Or do we want any future upgrade to be developed via the Newnes plateau, leaving the existing highway to act as a road for local and tourist traffic?
Alternatively, might we be happy with the RMS concept design if we can get its bad features modified?
There has to be total transparency in regard to conflicts on this matter. Some of the HHAG committee own property on the proposed purple route and on the orange corridor, similarly the supporters of the call for the purple route own property along the existing highway or have other highway (orange corridor) interests.
We need your support, for you to decide what is best for the valley, as this meeting will direct HHAG policy going foward.
If you wish to discuss this issue, or seek more information on this meeting and its objectives, please call any of the following HHAG committee members.
Ramsay Moodie 6355 2259 David Peters 6355 2332
Dennis Plink 63552109 Bob Morris 6355 2127
John James 0431 616 227 Milton Kingsley 0417 496 483
carried on 16 September 2012
MOTION 1. THAT the community of the Hartley Valley represented by this meeting, rejects the RMS Concept Design and Road Boundaries document dated July 2012.
Further, that the Concept Design not be included in Lithgow City Council’s and Blue Mountains City Council’s Local Environment Plans.
Moved: John James
Seconded: Peter Gray.
MOTION 2. THAT the Hartley Valley community totally rejects the concept of 26 metre B Double vehicles passing through Hartley Valley and Blue Mountains.
Moved : John James
Seconded: Dennis Plink
MOTION 3. THAT the community of Hartley Valley represented at this meeting, calls on the Councillors of Lithgow City Council and Blue Mountains City Council to support the rejection of the RMS Concept Design and Road Boundaries document dated July 2012 and the rejection of 26 metre B Double vehicles travelling on the Great Western Highway.
Moved: Tim Worthington
Seconded: Robert Craig
MOTION 4. THAT a further meeting be convened by the Hartley Highway Action Group to consider alternative routes for travel west of Mount Victoria.
Moved: Dick Austen
Seconded: Sarah Childs
Spring Newsletter Report September 2012
The Hartley Highway Action Group has always sought to protect the heritage fabric of the valley. In accord with directions given by the community it has sought safety enhancements of the existing road as its first priority whilst seeking for the long term a Darling Causeway via Bell and Newnes to Marrangaroo option for any upgrade of the Great Western Highway beyond Mt Victoria.
Over time despite the promotion of the Newnes option the RMS settled on developing the existing line of highway. This option valued at some $2billion doesn’t make sense when the cost of cutting a road via Newnes was costed at <$1 bn. Significantly the Newnes route could also be used as the western end of a Bells Line of Road expressway if that oft talked of road ever needs to be developed.
The long term proposal the RMS has now tabled comprises a major expressway style road through the valley and an associated service road running largely in parallel, all running close to the existing line of road. This proposal may never be implemented as it is enormously expensive and gives little return, it is however going to be locked in as a firm proposal and needs to be treated as such.
Many issues have been identified in the RMS consultation meetings on this proposal; the previously unannounced truck stops, running the service road through Little Hartley and Hartley villages and the difficulty of north south movements in the valley under the proposal, to name but a few.
More immediate are the safety enhancements proposed, an immediate spend of $120m on Forty Bends and a number of through valley enhancements, with the balance of the $250m of committed funds to be applied to safety upgrades of the GWH between Katoomba and Mt Victoria.
It is proposed that a Public meeting be held on Sunday 16th September, at 3pm in the Old School Hall on Mid Hartley Road, to consider a combined response to the RMS proposal (See Events for further details). Whilst all people affected by the proposal need to put in their own submissions to the RMS we may be able to distil a broad community view in support of some issues that might add weight to individual submissions.
Hartley Highway Action Group– Stop Press- Update 16
Friday 1st June saw the announcement of a new NSW Government speed cameras strategy by Duncan Gay, the State Government’s Minister for Transport. This announcement, that all funds raised by speed cameras will be put into a separate fund, is a welcome development as will be a number of the other provisions to lift the level of warnings relating to camera locations. Incorporated in the announcement are a raft of specific initiatives, including one that identifies three new lengths of road to be controlled by point to point cameras. The Victoria Pass is not included on that list, but a provision has been made for road users to nominate sections of road that warrant the use of speed control cameras, on the Safer Roads New South Wales Website.
The Facts are:
Victoria pass has a notorious safety record and has grades and bends that are unique for a major highway.
Most Pass accidents are the result of excess speed.
The RMA (RTA) itself, late last year, put a proposal to government to control speed on the Pass using point to point cameras.
The Government has made no decision on this recommendation.
In economic terms, a death on the road is costed at about $6million. Spending a few hundred thousand on ‘point to point’ cameras, even if they save only one life before the Pass is ultimately upgraded in some way, is a no brainer.
The Hartley Highway Action Group has consistently asked for technology to be used to control risk areas coming through the Valley and point to point cameras on the Pass in particular.
If you agree with this approach, register your concern on the Safe Roads NSW website; www.saferroadsnsw.com.au/haveyoursayspeedcameras.aspx
There you could register a concern like;
‘The Victoria Pass on the Great Western Highway is a unique and dangerous length of Road. It should have speed on it controlled by point to point speed cameras. This will save lives and accidents by having the effect of controlling speed and registering in the minds of motorists the unique and dangerous nature of this length of road. ‘
Sending the same message as an email to the minister at ; firstname.lastname@example.org would send a powerful message direct to the minister.
If you want to discuss this issue or to suggest an alternate, don’t hesitate to call Ramsay Moodie, the current chair of the Hartley Highway Action Group on 6355 2259 or 0412 283 800. See also the update on the current status of the Highway Upgrade in the newsletter.
HHAG Update 14 December 2011
Work has now commenced on the safety upgrade of the top corner of Victoria Pass, and is scheduled for completion by Easter next year. Mitchell’s Lookout, presently used as a depot for the work, will then be reopened.
Last month, a HHAG representative was invited to attend a meeting organised by the Mt Victoria and Blackheath Highway Action Groups, with Roza Sage (member for the Blue Mountains) and our local member Paul Toole.
Pass safety issues were discussed, and our longstanding calls for the ‘Newnes option’ as an alternative to upgrading the existing highway.
The meeting was also attended by senior RTA personnel who discussed potential solutions to problems with the bottom bend, including the runoff over the westbound lane in heavy rain and the inadequacy of the downhill merge on the left bend going into the bottom corner.
Consistent with our many calls for the use of technology to control speed, RTA has proposed to government that point to point speed cameras should be installed on the pass. We have written to the minister voicing our full support.
October saw the O‘Farrell government implement its pre-election commitment to conduct a full review of the Mt Victoria to Lithgow project. An international firm of infrastructure consultants, Evans and Peck, was appointed to review all of the RTA’s decisions to date, and to meet with the various groups that have an interest in the matter.
We met with Evans and Peck, and restated our position regarding the ‘Newnes option’, and the desirability of doing Bells Line Of Road safety enhancements by diverting money from the proposed River Lett Hill south upgrade.
We await the outcome of this review and have written to the minister seeking early release of the full report by Evans and Peck.
HHAG Update June 2010
Safety enhancements of the Great Western Highway
We need your help to get this list right….
As we all know the Great Western Highway between Mt Victoria and Lithgow is an extremely dangerous section of road. Whilst an upgrade is coming it may be partial and may take in excess of ten years to complete, in the meantime we continue to see fatalities on this road at an extra ordinarily high rate. At a public meeting between orange corridor residents and the RTA held on 6th March, Ramsay Moodie as the Chairman of the Hartley Highway Action Group indicated to the RTA that we (the Hartley community) would develop a list of immediate safety measures for this stretch of the highway. This list, which we need help on fleshing out, is below.
Enhancements are justifiable on the same grounds that the RTA used to justify spending $4million on River Lett Hill despite the fact that the road may be replaced by the upgrade. A number of years ago the RTA had an economic assessment made of the loss to the economy that results from a loss of human life through a road accident. That study concluded that each death represents an economic loss of $5.5-$6.5 million; this thinking wholly justifies the significant spend on safety enhancement that we have sought. This call has now been acknowledged in the government’s May announcement of a $30 million allocation for immediate safety enhancements. We now need to help the RTA to ensure the money is spent on the right problems.
The follow table is a starting list of enhancement suggestions. Feel free to either suggest change in the description etc in the table below or provide a separate list outlining your thoughts. Have we got all the danger spots or are there any listed that aren’t really a concern? We need your knowledge and insight to build this list into a comprehensive outline of possible enhancements. We will then promote these enhancements to the RTA and if necessary seek political support for their implementation…..
Issue (going east to west)
|80 kph maximum in the valley.
|Unique road warning signage*
Point to point speed control cameras top to bottom – cars and trucks.
|Victoria Pass top corner (Horseshoe bend)
|Mt Vic pass bottom corner (Chinaman’s bend)
|Turn into Little Hartley Farm
|Signed right turn lane for east bound and signed slip lane for westbound in.
Centre haven lane for emerging traffic turning east.
|Cox’s River Road entry
|Existing slip lane in for westbound needs widening and signing.
Signed East bound turning lane.
Centre haven lane for emerging traffic turning east.
|Slip lane for east bound in needs signing. Signed right turn in for westbound.
|Baaner’s Lane entry
|Signed slip lane for West bound in.
Centre haven lane for East bound coming out.
Improvement of vertical and horizontal road alignment to enable better visibility to the west.
School Bus pull-off on the highway to the western side of Baaners Lane.
|Browns Gap Rd entry
|East bound slip lane out.
|Trees opposite diner
|Requires crash barrier.(issue possibly resolved by speed control)
|Diner casual trader space
|Turning lane for west bound cross over and widened verge for east bound slow down.
|Hartley village entry
|Existing turning lane for east bound traffic and slip lane in for westbound seems adequate.
Slip lane out for westbound.
|Jenolan Caves turn off
|Turning lane for east bound traffic and slip lanes for westbound in seem adequate.
|River Lett Hill
|Unique road warning signage* Point to point speed control cameras top to bottom – cars and trucks.
|River Lett Hill bottom bend
|Jersey barriers (now completed).
|River Lett Hill middle bend
|Jersey barriers (now completed).
|River Lett Hill top bend
|Jersey barriers (now completed).
|Forty bends ice area
|Unique ice warning system both warning drivers and calling maintenance crew intervention.
*The highway on Victoria Pass, River Lett Hill and through Forty Bends is unique and warrants unique signage. Technology driven signage possibilities now abound, excess speed feedback signs, signs that alter to reflect changed conditions and warning signage that is electronically enhanced to name a few possibilities. Such measures introduced together with more traditional warning signage and second sense alerts like “rumbling pavement” represent essential safety embellishments. This road needs signage that captures a transiting driver’s fullest attention.
The RTA held preliminary community consultation workshops to explore safety enhancements on this section of the highway on 28th June at the Hartley School and in the evening at Mt Victoria Public school. Many of the items above were discussed in those meetings but we will be formally serving the above list into this process once we have aggregated any further thoughts that might come from stakeholders in the community after our publication of this list.
Hartley Highway Action Group
Chairman 30th June 2010.