SHOALHAVEN Mayor Joanna Gash has called for the completion of Main Road 92 to ensure heavy vehicles can be removed from the road over Barrengarry and Cambewarra mountains.
After two serious accidents on Barrengarry Mountain this week which blocked traffic in both directions, Cr Gash urged that Main Road 92 be completed to offer a permanent alternative route for heavy vehicles.
However, it could be at least a year before that becomes a reality.
The bridge over the Shoalhaven River at Oallen Ford, which is slated for a $2 million replacement, might not be constructed until Christmas next year.
The five-tonne weight limit on the existing bridge rules out use by heavy vehicles.
At the moment heavy vehicles travel on Moss Vale Road and through Kangaroo Valley but B-Doubles, which routinely travel from both Manildra and the Australian Paper mill, are not allowed to use that road. When travelling to Melbourne, they go via Picton Road to gain access to the Hume Highway.
The two accidents on Moss Vale Road on Barrengarry Mountain in the last four days both involved trucks and greatly disrupted traffic.
Cr Gash said it was time to get heavy vehicles off the mountain.
“That was the whole idea of establishing Main Road 92, to try to remove heavy vehicles from Moss Vale Road,” she said.
“I understand the last kilometre of the road through to Tarago is all that remains to be sealed and an announcement is soon to be made on the remainder of the final route.
“Hopefully it goes through Tarago as it is flatter and would be easier for trucks.”
Mrs Gash, as the then Member for Gilmore, was at the centre of negotiations in 1997 that resulted in three levels of government agreeing to the multi-million dollar upgrade of Main Road 92 from Nowra to Nerriga.
The federal and state governments each contributed $43 million and Shoalhaven Council $12 million to complete the link between Nowra and Nerriga.
Now only one kilometre of unsealed road remains between Nerriga across Oallen Ford into Tarago, from where traffic travels into Bungendore and onto Canberra.
Goulburn Mulwaree Council is undertaking the earthmoving works on that section of the road and it is expected to be sealed by March next year.
Studies have also been completed on the route selection to join the route from the coast to the Hume Highway.
Shoalhaven City Council’s economic development manager Greg Pullen said it was expected the chosen route would be announced jointly by Shoalhaven, Palerang, Goulburn Mulwaree, Yass Valley and Upper Lachlan councils shortly.
“Numerous trucking companies have indicated it would become their preferred route from Nowra to the Hume Highway and vice versa,” he said.