Pretty Plains safety gains the next step for Mitchell Highway upgrades


The NSW Labor Government is continuing with its commitment to improve safety on our regional and rural roads, with an intersection upgrade on Mitchell Highway in the state’s central west making the road safer while also improving traffic flow.

The Mitchell Highway intersection with Pretty Plains Road, about 20 kilometres east of Orange, will be widened to provide a dedicated left turn lane into Pretty Plains Road.

Work at Pretty Plains will start on Monday, 20 May and be carried out between 7am and 6pm from Monday to Friday and 8am to 1pm on Saturdays. No work will occur on Sundays or public holidays.

A reduced speed limit of 40 km/h will be in place through the intersection for the safety of workers and all road users, with a Stop/Slow condition in place. Some lane closures and night work may be required, both of which will be communicated as required. It’s anticipated this work will be completed mid-year, weather permitting.

Once the lane construction is complete crews will conduct line-marking and then install flexible safety barriers on the side of the road to help protect vehicles which have left their lane for any reason.

Minister for Regional Transport and Road Jenny Aitchison said:

“The Mitchell Highway is a key regional route linking the central west and western regions of the state to the Blue Mountains and Sydney and the section between Bathurst to Orange has a history of road crashes.

“In order to reduce road trauma, proven life-saving solutions are being installed at various locations between Bathurst and Orange for the benefit of all road users, including local residents, tourists and key freight operators.

“The Pretty Plains intersection was identified for an upgrade to address concerns about driver behaviour, including that west-bound motorists were overtaking turning vehicles which put them directly in the path of east-bound vehicles turning right.

“By installing a dedicated turning lane for those vehicles travelling on the Mitchell Highway between Bathurst and Orange, we’re providing opportunity for motorists to slow down safely on approach while allowing other traffic to continue through the intersection, improving efficiency.

“This is part of the NSW Government’s ongoing commitment improve safety on our regional, rural and remote roads, as part of the Safer Roads and Network Efficiency Program, reducing travel times and increasing productivity after a decade of neglect by the former government.”

Orange Duty MLC Stephen Lawrence said:

“The highway between Bathurst to Orange sees around 10,000 traffic movements a day – including local residents, tourists and key freight operators so this work at Pretty Plains will greatly improve safety and traffic flow for these motorists.

“We are also currently in the final stages of development for the Vittoria West project, which will encompass the Mitchell Highway from the Beekeepers Inn to 1.8 kilometres west and will include a dedicated right hand turn lane at Gardiners Road as well as audio tactile line marking and safety barrier installation to further improve safety on the highway.”

Independent Member for Orange Phil Donato said:

“Six years ago, I first raised concerns with the former State Government regarding the absence of a west-bound turning lane from the Mitchell Highway into Pretty Plains Road, where there was foreseeable risk of a serious accident.

“I’ve shared frustration with locals who were sick of hearing excuses from the former government as to why these safety issues weren’t being addressed.

“I welcome today’s announcement from Minister Aitchison, who has prioritised this important safety upgrade.”

Transport for NSW is delivering safety improvements at several locations along this 50-kilometre section of the Mitchell Highway between Bathurst and Orange to improve safety and reduce the risk of crashes.

Motorists are already experiencing the benefits of these improvements at Guyong, where a 2.3-kilometre upgrade including a new westbound overtaking lane was completed in September 2022, and at Vittoria East where another westbound overtaking lane was installed last December, as well as further upgrades at East Guyong which was also completed in December.

Road widening, pavement and drainage upgrades, safety barrier and rumble strips installation were some of the improvements made at those locations.

Work is also nearing completion at Vittoria Curve.

More information on the Mitchell Highway safety upgrades between Bathurst and Orange.

/Public Release. View in full here.