Road Photos & Information: New South Wales
||Great Western Highway, Mitchell Highway & Barrier Highway (National Route 32) (Decommissioned)
- Length: 1146 km
- Western Terminus: NSW-SA Border at Cockburn
- Eastern Terminus: Western Fwy (Metroad 4) and Governors Dr at Glenbrook
- Miscellaneous: Continues as A32 (Barrier Hwy) in South Australia
- Suburbs, Towns & Localities Along The Route: Glenbrook, Blaxland, Warrimoo, Valley Heights, Springwood, Faulconbridge, Linden, Woodford, Hazelbrook, Lawson, Bullaburra, Wentworth Falls, Leura, Katoomba, Medlow Bath, Blackheath, Mt Victoria, Hartley, Bowenfels, Lithgow, Marrangaroo, Mt Lambie, Meadow Flat, Yetholme, Glanmire, Raglan, Kelso, Bathurst, Dunkeld, Vittoria, Guyong, Lucknow, Orange, Molong, Wellington, Geurie, Wongarbon, Dubbo, Narromine, Trangie, Nevertire, Nyngan, Cobar, Wilcannia, Broken Hill and Cockburn
- Road Authority
Internal Classification: HW5 (Glenbrook to Bathurst), HW7 (Bathurst to Nyngan) and HW8 (Nyngan to South Australia) 1
- Decommissioned: 2013
National Route 32 is the main route linking the New South Wales state capital, Sydney, with the west of the state. The road varies from arterial road conditions, rural expressway and rural highway.
The highway is signposted as National Route 32 from Glenbrook in Sydney's west, to its terminus at Bathurst. Great Western Hwy is signposted as SR44 in the sydney area.
The Great Western Highway is regarded as one of the oldest roads in Australia. Starting as George Street in the Sydney CBD, and following Parramatta Road, it heads west across metropolitan Sydney to Penrith, where it crosses the Nepean River. It then crosses the Blue Mountains and the Great Dividing Range to Bathurst.
The road across the Blue Mountains was built by William Cox in the 1800s shortly after a viable route across the mountains was discovered. An obelisk at Macquarie Place in Sydney records the construction of the road during the rule of Governor Lachlan Macquarie.
In the 90s, the highway was terminated at Emu Plains with the closure of the Knapsack Gully Viaduct. An extension to the Western Mwy (Metroad 4) at Emu Plains was constructed, which rejoined with the highway at Glenbrook. The upper portion of the Great Western Highway from Russell Street is now only used by residents and cars coming from Blaxland via Mitchells Pass. Mitchells Pass is section of the former main road over the Blue Mountains.
The Mitchell Highway links north-western NSW with Dubbo, Bathurst and eventually Sydney.
The highway starts at Bathurst as National Route 32 and heads west through the Great Dividing Range to Orange then continues north through Molong, Wellington and Dubbo. From Dubbo, the highway follows the Bourke railway line in a north-westerly direction to Nyngan. The highway's route number changes to NR71 (after the Barrier Highway junction at Nyngan), and then it continues north-west to Bourke and terminates at the QLD border, just north of Barringun.
The Mitchell Highway is named after Major Thomas Mitchell, who was Surveyor-General of New South Wales in the 1820s and explored much of inland New South Wales and Victoria.
The Barrier Highway is a highway in New South Wales and South Australia.
The Barrier Highway starts at Nyngan where it joins the Mitchell Highway. It heads west to Cobar. It then continues to Wilcannia, then further west it passes through Broken Hill and enters South Australia, turning southwest towards Adelaide. It joins Main North Road at Giles Corner between Riverton and Tarlee. Route A32 continues on Main North Road to Gawler where it joins the Sturt Highway (A20). The area traversed by the Barrier Highway is remote and very sparsely settled.
- May 1813: Successful crossing of the Blue Mountains by Gregory Blaxland, William Charles Wentworth and Lieutennant William Lawson. 2
- 18 July 1814: Work commences from Emu Plains (Emu Ford) on what eventually becomes Great Western Road. The Chief Magistrate at Windsor, William Cox supervised the construction of what was the first road over the Blue Mountains. 2
- 7 November 1814: Construction of mountain pass at Mt York. 2
- 6 December 1814: Work begins on 1 bridge over the Lett River and another over the Cox River. the were completed in 6 days. 2
- 15 December 1814: Completion of the mountain pass at Mt York. 2
- 14 January 1815: Completion of a 12 feet wide 101 mile track to Bathurst. 2
- 1829: Work begins on Victoria Pass. 2
- 23 October 1832: Victoria Pass is opened by Governor Bourke. 2
- 1832: Construction begins on Lennox Bridge, over Lapstone Creek, along what is known as Mitchell's Pass. 2
- 1833: Completion of Lennox Bridge. 2
- 22 March 1834: Completion of Mitchells Pass. 2
- June 1858: The Main Roads Management Act appoints Captain BH Martindale as the person responsible for the management of 3 main roads in the colony including the Great Western Road, from Sydney via Parramatta, Penrith, Hartley and Bathurst to Wellington. 2
- 1896: Western Road extended to reach Warren, now located on Oxley Highway. 2
- 7 June 1926: A board meeting resolved to set aside funding from the Commonwealth's road funding scheme for road development to be used on some of NSW 'great trunk routes', which included the Great Western Road. 2
- 1932: Construction of the Cox's River Deviation. 2
- 1938: Installation of warning signs, roadmarkings and guide posts along a 60 mile stretch between Parramatta and Mt Victoria. These were implemented for testing, for a possible statewide rollout. 2 Construction of railway overpass on the Mitchell Hwy at Molong. 3
- 1939: After successful testing of warning signs, roadmarkings and guide posts, the system was implemented statewide. Also completion of pavement along the Great Western Road. 44% or 120 miles of Mitchell Hwy paved with bitumen surface. 2
- 1950s: Completion of a ¾ mile section of highway constructed between Linden and Woodford to bypass 2 badly aligned railway bridges, which were the site of several bad crashes. Also the bypassing of the railway level crossing at Katoomba. A 1 mile long deviation and a new overbridge over the railway line to eliminate sharp approaches to the previous bridge. The Forty Bends section of the highway near Lithgow was also eliminated. 2
- 1953: Reconstruction program commences of the Barrier Hwy. 2
- 1960: Dust-free road surface completed along Mitchell Hwy between Bathurst and Dubbo. 2
- 26 September 1969: Opening of the 2013 feet long 28 span prestressed concrete bridge over the Macquarie River at Dubbo. At the time it was the fourth longest bridge in the state. 2
- 1970s: Bitumous sealing of the Barrier Highway completed. 2
- 6 November 1972: Completion of bitumous sealing along Mitchell Highway. 2
- 1980s: Great Western Hwy widened from 4 lanes to 6 lanes between St Marys and Werrington, and also between Blacktown and Prospect. Also Great Western Highway re-routed away from High St in Penrith after the opening of a pedestrian mall along High St. Also widening works at various locations between Blaxland and Katoomba.
- 1990s: Great Western Hwy truncated at Russell St in Emu Plains when the Western Mwy (Metroad 4) was extended up into the Blue Mountains.
- July 2000: New pedestrian bridge constructed on Great Western Hwy at Valley Heights. 4
- July 2000: Four lane upgrade and construction of a pedestrian bridge at railway station on Great Western Hwy at Warrimoo. 4
- February 2001: Parking improvements and construction of a pedestrian bridge at railway station on Great Western Hwy at Blaxland. 4
- June 2001: Four lane upgrade and construction of pedestrian bridge at railway station on Great Western Hwy at Faulconbridge. 4
- June 2002: Improved alignment and overtaking lane constructed on Great Western Hwy at Soldiers Pinch at Mount Victoria. 4
- 2003: Two overtaking lanes built on the Mitchell Highway between Dubbo and Wellington. Reconstruction and widening of the highway including intersection improvements at the Milthorpe Road intersection at Vittoria. Reconstruction and widening of the highway including sealing road shoulders and line marking at Narromine. 11 km of widening works 70 km west of Cobar on Barrier Hwy. 5
- August 2003: Four lane upgrade with new bridges and pedestrian signals constructed on Great Western Hwy at Linden. 4
- December 2003: Improved alignment, replacement bridge and new signalised intersection on Great Western Hwy at Medlow Bath. 4
- August 2004: Four lane upgrade, two new bridges, new traffic signals on a new alignment bypassing Shell Corner on Great Western Hwy at Katoomba. 4
- June 2005: Four lane upgrade with three improved intersections and new off-road shared pedestrian/cyclist path on Great Western Hwy at Wentworth Falls. 4
- August 2005: Median barrier extended and wider shoulder for cyclists on Great Western Hwy along Lapstone Hill near Glenbrook. 4
- May 2006: Four lane upgrade on Great Western Hwy from Willow Park Avenue, Leura to Bowling Green Avenue, Katoomba. March 2009: Four lane upgrade on Great Western Hwy from Kings Road and Bowling Green Avenue at Katoomba. 4
- August 2008: Works begin on widening Great Western Hwy at Lawson. 6
- October 2009: Construction begins on replacement bridge over the railway line on the Mitchell Hwy at Molong. 7
- 8 June 2010: Installation begins of pedestrian signals on Great Western Hwy at Blackheath. 8
- 2011: Rest area upgrades on the Mitchell Hwy at Gamboola, Two Mile Creek, Larras Lee and Nevertire. 9 Upgrade and widening works begin on the Great Western Highway Upgrade between Station Street,Woodford and Winbourne Road, Hazelbrook. 10
Click here for historical photos and drawings of the route.
1 Roads and Traffic Authority, Schedule of Classified Roads (and unclassified Regional Roads), 25 February 2008
2 Department of Main Roads. The Roadmakers, A History of Main Roads in New South Wales, ISBN 0 7240 0439 4
3 Roads & Traffic Authority, Projects, Western Region, Completed Projects, Railway overpass at Molong.
4 Roads & Traffic Authority, Projects, Great Western Highway, Completed projects.
5 Roads & Traffic Authority, Community update, Road activity update – Western NSW, February 2003.
6 Roads & Traffic Authority, News & Events, Great Western Highway upgrade at Lawson, 4 August 2008.
7 Minister for Infrastructure & Transport, Media Release, Molong overpass construction underway, October 14 2009.
8 Roads & Traffic Authority, Projects, Great Western Highway, Installation of mid-block pedestrian lights – Great Western Highway, Blackheath, 31 May 2010.
9 Roads & Traffic Authority, Projects approved under Round 2 of the Federal Government's Heavy Vehicle Safety Productivity Program, March 2010.
10 Roads & Traffic Authority, Projects, Great Western Highway, July 2011.
Last updated: 10-Sep-2020 0:38
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