Millbank Rd highlights need for new route

It has to be seen to be believed. Millbank Road, which runs between Greenwell Point and Terara roads, has been patched so often it resembles lizard skin or a bitumen quilt. We’re convinced it’s at the top of list of the worst roads in Shoalhaven.

Shoalhaven City Council really has no option but to rip it up and rebuild it but even then that won’t solve anything in the long term. The problem is the road has become a rat run for motorists from Worrigee seeking to avoid the Kalandar Street-Princes Highway peak time bottlenecks.

A country lane, Millbank Road was never designed for such heavy volumes of traffic. Its sorry state should act as a wake-up call. It’s time to progress the long dormant East Nowra Sub Arterial Road, or ENSAR. Many motorists would agree an alternative route that bypassed the traffic lights on the Princes Highway through Nowra, offering easier access to the beachside suburbs and housing estates of Worrigee, is long overdue. 

The plan has been on the books for years but the pace of work on the Princes Highway upgrade has made it more urgent. When the upgrade is complete, the last thing we want is traffic coming to a dead stop through Nowra. ENSAR’s design would allow motorists to veer off the highway at Moss Street. They would rejoin the highway at the large Warra Warra Road roundabout.

This would not only ease highway and local congestion, it would presumably reduce the wear and tear on roads such as Millbank Road, which were never built to handle the volume of traffic they experience. That in turn would hopefully reduce council’s repair bill. 

The $13.8 million federal contribution to the North Collector Road is welcome news from the federal budget but it is only one piece in a complex local infrastructure puzzle that needs to be completed if Nowra is to prosper.

Finally, we see bridge funding on the federal agenda, where it needs to be, and keenly await firm and realistic commitments to the extent of investment Canberra will make. The Labor Opposition has committed $50 million while the government says it will await final costings before committing a dollar sum. Gilmore MP Ann Sudmalis says she’ll now “barrack” for the government to stump 80 per cent of the cost. 

We see no reason why work to progress several projects cannot be carried out simultaneously. ENSAR needs to be pushed to the head of the queue.