Roads and Maritime Services says there is no firm start date for the new Nowra Bridge project.
The best that could be offered for the $310 million project was “some time within the next 10 years”.
The start date for work depends on a number of factors.
While the latest concept design and environmental assessments are out for public comment, acting regional director South Region and senior project manager Adrian Rouse said the environmental assessments needed to be met and the project still needed to be approved.
“That will take some time,” he said when asked about a start date.
“We also have to precure a contractor to build the bridge - I don’t envisage starting work for a number of years but the process is underway.
“We want to consider community feedback appropriately and it is really difficult to provide an actual time frame until we see what the feedback is.”
As for the lifespan of the existing 137-year-old iron Nowra bridge, Mr Rouse said the structure was “functioning adequately”.
“And will do so into the foreseeable future,” he said “but it costs a lot of money to keep it to that standard. The objective is to minimise our ongoing maintenance costs and provide better traffic efficiency during the construction phase.
“Until we construct the new bridge the existing arrangements will remain in place.”
Previously the lifespan of the bridge was estimated at between five and seven years, but Mr Rouse said that was “without significant maintenance and improvements to the structure”.
“We are trying to avoid those significant improvements to the structure and that is why the project and the time is so important to get new bridge constructed,” he said.
RMS has started negotiations and discussions with property owners who will be potentially impacted by the project.
While still difficult to actually say how many properties would be impacted, Mr Rouse said it would be in the order of 10 to 15.
“We are continuing that discussion process to get a good outcome for all involved,” he said.
“Until the final concept design, it is difficult to actually say how many properties would be involved.”
He said at this stage RMS had not purchased any properties.