THE Christmas holidays again turned into long and arduous journeys for many people stuck in lengthy traffic queues around Milton and Ulladulla in the past few weeks.
Southbound traffic trying to get into Milton on the Princes Highway was at times banked back for several kilometres, while cars travelling north through the region fared little better, at times needing 30 minutes to travel the few kilometres from Ulladulla to Milton.
Yet plans for a bypass of Milton and Ulladulla remain firmly on the back-burner.
“A bypass of Milton and Ulladulla has not been funded therefore a projected timeframe is not available,” Roads and Maritime Services said last week.
The RMS spokesperson said a bypass corridor had been identified and could be seen on Shoalhaven City Council’s Local Environment Plan but no money had been set aside for detailed project planning or construction.
Problems with traffic congestion last summer prompted the RMS to carry out a traffic survey to look at what was causing extensive delays for traffic travelling through Milton.
“A traffic survey was carried out in Milton during the 2012/13 Christmas/New Year period to determine the cause of queuing in Milton in times of high traffic volumes,” the RMS spokesperson said.
“The results showed pedestrians crossing at the zebra crossing and at other locations, vehicles entering and leaving parking spots and vehicles waiting to turn right all contributed to delays.”
In response RMS has installed a variable message sign at Milton’s northern edge, warning people when queues were developing and delays were expected.
Shoalhaven councillor Amanda Findley said the RMS needed to be doing more to help solve the traffic congestion problems.
“I think the RMS has the ability to be a bit more innovative, and needs to go along with the community on this,” Cr Findley said.
“Why can’t we look at how we can use the road network better?”
During peak times the pedestrian crossing on the Princes Highway in Milton became a major source for delays, Cr Findley said, before suggesting traffic could be rerouted along Myrtle Street to Croobyar Road, or along Thomas Street, to bypass the crossing and help keep cars moving.
Myrtle Street or Thomas Street could be widened to help improve traffic flow, she added.
While she supported retaining the zebra crossing on the highway, Cr Findley said it could be covered with matting during peak times and replaced with portable, pedestrian-operated traffic lights.
The Ulladulla and Districts Community Forum has lobbied council and the state government several times over the years in support of accelerating planning for the bypass.