A bypass of Nowra will not solve the current traffic congestion problems in and around the Shoalhaven River bridge according to Kiama MP Gareth Ward.
The state government's announcement of proposed plan and design of the new Shoalhaven River crossing and associated roadworks has again sparked calls for a Nowra bypass.
While welcoming the Nowra crossing proposal, numerous readers on social media have called for the bypass west of Nowra as a way of alleviating traffic congestion on the Princes Highway.
There are 50,000 car movements a day over the present Nowra bridges. Statistics show that 80 to 85 per cent of that traffic is traffic from Bomaderry and Nowra. It is local traffic.Kiama MP Gareth Ward
While Mr Ward admitted a bypass would eventually be needed, at this stage he said it would do nothing to stop the daily congestion between Bomaderry and Nowra.
“As a Shoalhaven resident what I want to do is fix the congestion around Bolong, Illaroo and Bridge roads as well as Pleasant way,” he said.
“There are 50,000 car movements a day over the present Nowra bridges. Statistics show that 80 to 85 per cent of that traffic is traffic from Bomaderry and Nowra. It is local traffic.
“A bypass won’t solve the congestion at these pinch points.
“Will Nowra need a bypass in the future? Absolutely.
“But with the old Nowra Bridge nearing the end of its lifespan we can’t leave Nowra and Bomaderry with just one bridge.
A bypass won’t solve the congestion at Nowra pinch points.Kiama MP Gareth Ward
“Could you image that?
“I think a bypass of Nowra will be needed into the future but with so much of the traffic causing congestion at key pinch points being Nowra-Bomaderry traffic there are other treatments that need to be done to help resolve the congestion in and around Nowra and that’s what we are attempting to do.
“And in reality, who is going to want to drive around Nowra to get into Nowra?”
Will Nowra need a bypass in the future? Absolutely.Kiama MP Gareth Ward
Mr Ward agreed that there should be some changes to the initial design concept, and would be pushing for a permanent left turning lane only out of Illaroo Road.
“I’ll be pushing the government for a dedicated left turning lane at Illaroo Road to reduce traffic congestion,” he said.
He also fired a shot over Shoalhaven City Council’s bows, saying it was a shame council “hadn’t built the North Nowra Link Road when it had the chance”.
The old Nowra Bridge is nearing the end of its lifespan we can’t leave Nowra and Bomaderry with just one bridge.Kiama MP Gareth Ward
“I don't want to see people stopped in traffic,” Mr Ward said.
He also reminded residents that this was just a “concept plan”.
“It’s a proposal. People have to realise that,” he said.
“Let’s be clear this is the preferred design but not necessarily the final design.
“I’ve worked on a number of highway projects and Gerringong and Berry are great examples where I’ve backed the community to make changes that made these projects better for local residents.
“This project is no different.
“And I say to people making comments on Facebook, great, and getting on talkback, fine, but turn that passion into a submission and make a real difference.
“And please send copies of those submissions to both Shelley [South Coast MP Shelley Hancock] and myself so we can also know the concerns of locals.”
Project on display and community info sessions
The preferred option for the project will be on display for community feedback until Friday, March 23 at Shoalhaven City Council premises, Nowra Library and TAFE NSW Nowra.
Five community drop-in sessions where people can see the preferred option and give feedback will also be held.
The first two sessions will be held between 11am and 3pm Thursday and Saturday, March 1-3 at Stocklands Nowra. The third and fourth sessions will be held between 11am and 3pm Thursday and Saturday, March 8-10 at North Nowra Shops. The final session will be held between 10am and 1pm Saturday, March 17 at Nowra School of Arts Annex.
To find out more about the project including details on the drop-in sessions, email NowraBridgeProject@rms.nsw.gov.au.
More information on the preferred option can be found in the Nowra Bridge Project Preferred Option Summary available at rms.nsw.gov.au/nowrabridge.