Bells Line speed bump: Toole, Grant non-committal on expressway

Non-committal: Bathurst MP Paul Toole and Dubbo MP Troy Grant have shown some support for an expressway but nothing concrete. Photo: JANIE BARRETT
Non-committal: Bathurst MP Paul Toole and Dubbo MP Troy Grant have shown some support for an expressway but nothing concrete. Photo: JANIE BARRETT

The chances of the Bells Line Expressway being built in the short term appear unlikely if the reactions of state Nationals MPs are anything to go by.

Earlier this week Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party member for Orange Phil Donato slammed the government for a lack of action on upgrading the Sydney route, saying “they have been in power since 2011 and nothing has happened”.

“And it isn’t a new concept, this has been around for 15 years or more.”

The Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party representative said he wanted to see the expressway built.

“The time has come,” he said.

Member for Dubbo Troy Grant and Member for Bathurst Paul Toole were both asked where they stood on the idea of a Bells Line Expressway to improve transport links.

Mr Grant said he supported an expressway but in a statement very similar to his Nationals colleague and Roads Minister Melinda Pavey, said it was “too early to speculate” on a design or engineering solution.

In his statement, Mr Toole said he “would continue to advocate for short, medium and long-term outcomes for the Bells Line” but didn’t answer any questions about his position on an expressway.

He was far more enthusiastic to talk about the current work being done on the Bells Line of Road.

"The Bells Line is an important road corridor that provides an alternate route linking the Central West with Sydney,” he said.

“The NSW government continues to invest huge amounts of money for upgrading and improving our roads.

A diagram with the upgrades to the Bells Line of Road carried out in the last few years. Photo: NSW government

A diagram with the upgrades to the Bells Line of Road carried out in the last few years. Photo: NSW government

"I welcome the completion of the seven new overtaking lanes on the Bells Line of Road. This project has made an important contribution to the safety and access on that stretch of road.”

Mr Grant said transport and freight access over the mountains was being looked at in the draft Future Transport 2056 plan.

“I support an expressway from Dubbo to Sydney, I always have. It is a vital nation building project,” Mr Grant said.

Their responses were in contrast to Nationals MLC and Parliamentary Secretary for Western NSW Rick Colless, who said work should start in the next two years.