Upgrades promote accessiblity

Article image - Upgrades promote accessiblity Mayor Mark Greenhill at the Zig Zag Walking Track.

A $2 million upgrade to 2.35km of walking tracks in the lower Blue Mountains, New South Wales, will make significant heritage features more accessible to residents and tourists.

The Blue Mountains City Council project, with detailed design set to get underway later this year, will upgrade walking tracks between key features in Knapsack Reserve.

Mayor, Mark Greenhill, said development of the Scenic Eastern Escarpment walking tracks and lookouts would take two years to complete and include a fully accessible path from Knapsack Street track head to an upgraded Siding Lookout.

“This project will not only make these walking tracks in the lower Blue Mountains more accessible to more people, but it will also help open up significant heritage areas.

“For example, a new concrete path will provide full accessibility along the top section of the Lapstone Zig Zag Walking Track, through an impressive cutting and past the former Lucasville train station. It will also connect to a new lookout with views down to the heritage Knapsack Viaduct and beyond to the Penrith plains.”

The Lapstone Zig Zag was a railway built in 1863-1865 to overcome an otherwise insurmountable climb up the eastern escarpment of the Blue Mountains. Today the path is marked by an informal and eroded track, leading to an opening in the trees at Siding Lookout, where embankment repair is needed.

It is proposed that a new Siding Lookout will wrap the edge of the existing switchback, while terraced seating will give priority views over handrails to people in wheelchairs. It will also include interpretive signage.

“An improved trailhead and connections to an extended network of paths linking Penrith to Glenbrook, opens up the potential of bushland recreation to locals and tourists alike.”

The project will be funded under the Western Parkland City Liveability Program, which is part of the Western Sydney City Deal.