What upgrades to the Scenic Eastern Escarpment are being made as part of the current project?

    Within Knapsack Reserve, work has commenced to improve shared tracks and trails, replacing signage, renewing Marges and Elizabeth lookouts with updated fencing and steps and improving the overall scenic amenity within Knapsack Reserve.

    Improvements to the Lapstone Zig Zag Track and Top Points Lookout will provide the first accessible bushland track in the Lower Mountains and include:

    • An accessible, shared, asphalt pathway approximately 850 meters long along the alignment of the existing Zig Zag Track to the Top Points Lookout.
    • An accessible, elevated platform at the Top Points Lookout at the northern end of the pathway, which will provide views over the Cumberland Plain.
    • A formalised parking area in the Knapsack Street cul-de-sac providing five angled parking spaces, and including two accessible parking spaces, for the community.
    • Improved landscaping next to the parking area and trail head, including a small rain garden for stormwater treatment.
    • Seating at intervals along the pathway

    The Scenic Eastern Escarpment Masterplan guides these upgrades:

    The Masterplan is a detailed plan that guides future design and development. It can take many years to find all the funding to complete it. The current program of works is the first stage in delivering the vision expressed in the Masterplan

    What work has been undertaken?

    Within Knapsack Reserve, a number of projects to improve shared tracks, trails and lookout have been completed.

    • Upgrades to the Elizabeth Lookout to Knapsack Bridge Track 
    • Upgrades to Marges and Elizabeth Lookout’s 
    • Lovers Walk to Mitchells Pass Track upgrades.
    • Improvements to the Lapstone Zig Zag Track and Top Points Lookout are underway and almost complete.

    Will there be any new tracks?

    No new tracks haven been created, instead we have improved and updated the existing tracks that we know are important to many locals and visitors.

    Are any tracks being removed?

    No. There are no tracks being removed as part of this upgrade. In 2017, all tracks were reviewed and formal tracks defined and informal tracks closed down. This helps to look after the environment and allows us to focus on maintaining the tracks that protect the visitor experience.

    What community consultation has taken place?

    Extensive community consultation took place in 2017-18 for the Scenic Eastern Escarpment Masterplan that is guiding this work.

    The eastern escarpment offers a wide range of recreational activities, supports a rich diversity of vegetation communities and showcases important Aboriginal and European heritage. 

    The Concept design for the Lapstone Zig Zag Track was put on public exhibition in September 2021.Consultation with users, including local residents and visitors, was sought on the design and finish of the path. 

    Based on feedback from the community, in early 2022 the elected Council decided not to use a concrete path as initial proposed and instead opted for an asphalt path. The path material was selected to provide an accessible surface, suitable for emergency vehicles, including bush fire access. The designs were subsequently updated in 2022 in consultation with Council stakeholders, primarily within the Natural Areas, Heritage, Tree Management, and Infrastructure teams.

    What is happening with the Lapstone Hill Tunnel?

    Council is currenrly calling for community feedback on a 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 here.

    The survey will be open until Monday, 8 April 2024.

    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.

    Tell me more about the Lapstone Zig Zag Track and Top Points lookout Upgrade.

    The Lapstone Zig Zag Track to Top Points Lookout accessibility upgrade will provide a new experience designed to expand opportunities for families, seniors and people with accessibility needs. This is significant for people and their carers who face mobility issues and an important milestone for the Blue Mountains community.

    Currently less than four per cent of walking tracks in the Blue Mountains and none of the paths in the lower mountains, are accessible. Making this 850m long pathway inclusive is an essential step in making the bush experience possible to more people.

    In fact, the Lapstone Zig Zag to Top Points Lookout track was first identified as a location that could be made accessible in 2008.

    The current upgrade includes the construction of a new lookout platform and accessible pathway along the current track alignment. The pathway will be accessibility compliant and provide wheelchair access to the upgraded Top Points Lookout; providing views to the Nepean River and Western Sydney.

    What will the Lapstone Zig Zag shared path look like?

    The Lapstone Zig Zag to Top Points Lookout track will follow what was previously a railway line and the works will keep the bush experience natural and intact. 

    To meet the Australian standards for accessibility, the track needs to be paved and while a concrete path was originally proposed, Council amended this to an asphalt path following community feedback and evaluation against essential design criteria.

    The designs balance the need for a compliant and accessible pathway while retaining the natural bushland and heritage values.

    Will heritage items be impacted by the Lapstone Zig Zag shared path upgrade?

    The new accessible path will not impact on heritage items, such as the Lucasville Railway platform and steps. It will provide access to these important heritage items, so more members of the community can enjoy them.

    What conservation work is planned for the Lucasville platform?

    In regards to the Lucasville platform, non-native vegetation from the top and base of the platform, and patch repairs and cleaning are to be undertaken. This will contribute to the overall appearance and long term conservation of the station. In addition, protective measures will be in place during construction to avoid any potential damage during works.  

    There will be an ongoing review as to what other preservations and conservation works would be required for this significant historical landmark.

    Will there be accessible parking at the entrance to the Lapstone Zig Zag shared path?

    Yes. As part of the upgrade, a formalised parking area in the Knapsack Street cul-de-sac will provide five angled parking spaces for the community, including two accessible parking spaces.

    Improved landscaping next to the parking area and trail head, including a small rain garden for stormwater management, is also part of the upgrade.

    How are the current works being funded?

    Council secured funding for these significant upgrades under the Western Parkland City Liveability program, which is part of the Western Sydney City Deal (WSCD). The WSCD is a 20 year agreement  between Australian and NSW governments, and the eight Councils of the Western Parkland City.