At long last we have a plan for the new crossing of the Shoalhaven. What the government presented on Monday was both good news and bad. Yes, it is great the old iron bridge will have traffic removed from it and a new crossing will be constructed on the western side of the existing concrete bridge.
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However, it is unlikely to resolve the long-running issue with congestion around the Illaroo Road-Bolong Road-Princes Highway intersections. Additional turning lanes might improve traffic flow for the time being but in peak times, congestion is still likely to build up.
So the long-suffering residents of North Nowra, will still find themselves queueing to turn right onto the highway. And once they’re on the highway, they will have to contend with another set of traffic lights at the new intersection of Pleasant Way and the highway.
The government seems to have opted for the simplest option, rejecting suggestions of a flyover to get traffic out of Illaroo Road and onto the highway. But the question must be asked: is the simplest solution the best one given Nowra’s growth?
With large new subdivisions planned for Moss Vale Road, extra traffic is as certain as day following night. Improvements to Illaroo Road beyond North Nowra will make subdivisions proposed for Bangalee and Tapitallee feasible. These, too, will add to the traffic burden.
Yes, there are plans and funding to build the Northern Collector Road to direct traffic from North Nowra to Moss Vale Road. Much of that traffic will then head south over the new bridge. Even with extra lanes, that morning congestion on the highway is likely to stick around. And with an extra set of traffic lights, it’s unlikely to get better.
The immediate reaction to the bridge concept plans on social media was a clamour for a bypass of Nowra. That might improve traffic flow in holiday periods but the hard reality is that 85 per cent of the 50,000 traffic movements over the river during the week is made up of local vehicles.
Before the community gets too excited – or angry – over the plan revealed on Monday, we should remember this is only a concept plan and it will be thrown to public consultation.
It’s important, therefore, for those with strong feelings to make them known to the government rather than venting into the empty vault of social media.
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