Blue Mountains News

Have your say on essential and future design works for the Lapstone Hill Tunnel

By Blue Mountains City Council
Posted: 19 Mar 2024
The eastern approach to the Lapstone Hill Tunnel
Blue Mountains City Council is calling for community feedback ona series of essential upgrades and future design elements for the Lapstone Hill Tunnel.

Before the tunnel can be opened to the public,improvements to the tunnel’s drainage system need to be made, as well as the installation of lighting and electrical connections.

We are also calling on the community to consider:

  • How the cultural and heritage significance of the tunnel might be reflected.
  • Initial thoughts on a proposal for a bridge across Knapsack Gully near the western entrance of the tunnel.
  • Future opening and closing times for the tunnel.

To review the design options in detail and provide your feedback, complete the survey at: here

The survey will be open until Monday, 8 April 2024.
Blue Mountains Mayor, Cr Mark Greenhill, said: “Following significant progress last year on the remediation of the tunnel, Council has been working through the detailed planning that will ultimately enable public access to this State-owned asset.

“The drainage, electrical and lighting elements will provide the foundation for all future uses of the tunnel, so ensuring we get it right is important. Making the best decisions at this early stage, informed by community feedback, will lead to a greater number of ways the tunnel can be enjoyed by residents and visitors in the years ahead.

“The tunnel is so much more than its bricks and mortar. We are looking at ways to explore heritage and culture relating to the tunnel and the surrounding area and better ways to link the tunnel to existing track and road networks in the future, potentially via a new bridge over the Knapsack Gully.

“We also want to know what the community feel would work best for them in terms of future opening and closing times for the tunnel. We know different users will have different needs and when we consider public safety and the unfortunate potential for vandalism, it becomes difficult to arrive at a one-size-fits all approach.”

Council has been preparing for the necessary NSW heritage approval (Section 60). All proposed works are subject to the Section 60 Works Approval Process and may be subject to change.

Council also continues to assess and consider the future management of the tunnel.

“It’s important to note that Council does not own or manage the tunnel and has been engaged by the land manager, NSW Crown Lands, to conduct these works. While we continue to advocate for increased public access to the tunnel, future activation plans are still to be confirmed.

“With major accessibility upgrades on the nearby Zig Zag Walking Track and Top Points Lookout almost complete, together with the range of recent upgrades made to local walking tracks and lookouts throughout Knapsack Reserve,re-activation of the tunnel for public use would further enhance and link the recreational experiences of the Scenic Eastern Escarpment.”

Following community feedback, installation of the drainage and lighting solutions, plus further minor repairs and remediation, is anticipated to be completed by the end of 2024.

 
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