A NEW battle about the timing and funding for either the Albion Park or the Berry bypass is on the horizon.
This week Roads and Maritime Services released its recently completed review into the Albion Park bypass corridor.
The findings show if no action is taken to improve traffic flow on the existing route, traffic delays will continue to increase.
Kiama MP Gareth Ward said the construction of an Albion Park Rail bypass would reduce travel times for through and local traffic in both directions and improve the reliability of journey times, especially during holiday periods.
“We now have five or six years of studies before we could even start but we have confirmed the corridor for the Albion Park bypass and locked it in place,” he said.
“Now we need concept designs, geotechnical and hydro-technical work before we could build a 10.2km, $600 million piece of infrastructure.
“It would improve road safety and remove the only traffic lights on the route between Heathcote and Bomaderry,” he said.
However Mr Ward believed the Berry bypass should be constructed before Albion Park.
“There have been some who have said that Albion Park should be done before the Berry bypass – I don’t support that,” he said.
“Currently representing both those areas I believe Berry should come first because the loss of life will always take precedent over inconvenience.
“I don’t want to go to another funeral of someone I know in the Shoalhaven who has lost their life on the Princes Highway.”
As for the timing with the Berry to Bomaderry upgrades of the Princes Highway Mr Ward said that depended on federal funding.
He said federal assistance would be needed to speed up upgrades of the highway from Berry to Bomaderry.
If the Berry bypass is completed as expected in 2018, Albion Park Rail will be the only centre between Heathcote and Bomaderry not to be bypassed.