Next Nowra bridge will go west

Minister for Roads Duncan Gay announces the location of the next Nowra bridge amid a sea of local state and federal politicians in Nowra on Wednesday.

Minister for Roads Duncan Gay announces the location of the next Nowra bridge amid a sea of local state and federal politicians in Nowra on Wednesday.

Nowra's next bridge over the Shoalhaven River will be located on the western side, next to the current crossings.

Minister for Roads Duncan Gay announced the location on Wednesday in Nowra.

The announcement means detailed planning for improvements of the intersections at either end of the bridge can start immediately.

Mr Gay said the timing for the decision to announce the preferred location was brought forward following pressure from Shoalhaven City Council and $10 million in federal funding.

He said he was approached by council to make the decision so planning local planning for the future could continue.

According to Mr Gay, more weight was placed on engineering as opposed to cost in the decision to put the bridge on the western side.

Former Shoalhaven Mayor and MLC Paul Green mentioned a five-year time period for delivery.

Mr Gay said he would like him to be right but could not give any time frame other than to say detailed planning would start now and he expected it to take two years to complete.

“Without that planning we cannot have a price to be able to commit money into the future,” he said.

“The start date is determined by if I’ve got money and whether I can get help from the federal government.

“Obviously this is a large project and once we have that we will be looking for timetables into the future on how to deliver it.”

He said while the bulk of the responsibility to fund the bridge lies with the state government, his message to Gilmore MP Ann Sudmalis was clear.

“Ann I have left a small space in a future press release and a large space in my heart if you could weave that magic and once again get that federal government to acknowledge this highway is important for the country not just the state.”

He said the decision to place the bridge to the west was not based on cost.

“Our engineers and the community in general believe the western side is the best side,” Mr Gay said.

Wednesday’s announcement also brings into question the future of the old Nowra bridge.

Mr Gay said the consensus was the old bridge would probably be removed.

Shoalhaven Mayor Joanna Gash said she had she personally would like the old bridge to stay.

“I want to see the old bridge stay, I think the community would like to see the bridge stay, but I’m concerned by saving that council doesn’t pick up the tab for maintaining it,” she said.

“We have developments in the pipeline that need to be resolved and today’s announcement means we can move forward.

“There’s a lot of negotiation to take place. Certainly about land acquisition and where the roads will go.

In relation to a hotel proposal on the southern side of the bridge Mrs Gash said the proponents were not concerned at this stage.

“The hotel proponents were in to see me last week. I don’t think it’s going to affect that site at all,” she said.

“The proponents are waiting to see the detailed plans.

“I have an indication that it will not affect the hotel proposal,” she said.

On the issue of a rail crossing being incorporated into the bridge Mr Gay said that would be a question for Minister for Transport Gladys Berejiklian.

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