There was excitement among the politicians at the latest concept design and environmental assessment launch for the new Nowra bridge.
Gilmore MP Ann Sudmalis said it was another step in the process of “getting this amazing piece of infrastructure” constructed.
“I congratulate Roads and Maritime Services on the latest designs,” she said.
“I think the residents will be very pleased with the plans - you’ve take on board the changes suggested, the left hand dedicated turning lane at Illaroo Road was an issue. And you got rid of a set of traffic lights.
“Everyone in the area is looking forward to it.”
South Coast MP Shelley Hancock also thanked the RMS for working with the community on the project.
“We’ve had so many suggestions of what to do here,” she said.
“There is one undeniable fact - we have to now dispense with the old Nowra bridge - it’s past its use by date - the amount of maintenance funding that has to go into that old bridge is now beyond belief.
“We have to build a new bridge. There has been so many discussions about bypasses, that’s a discussion for another day.
“Today is about moving on with the new Nowra bridge and it will make a big difference.”
The objective of the new infrastructure is to make the traffic move north and south more efficiently but also alleviate currently restrictions on freight traveling south on the old bridge.
“It’s held up,” Mrs Hancock said. “This is also about moving freight, moving goods, about moving fodder south.
“It’s a discententive at the moment and certainly a slowdown on the Princes Highway.”
She described the new bridge as “an asset to the area”.
“Getting rid of the traffic lights at Pleasant Way and improvements at Illaroo Road, with the dedicated left turning north lane and at Bridge Road, RMS has taken onboard the comments from the community,” she said.
“Now it’s about refining that project. There is a chance for more comment and we will listen to what the community says.
“It’s now about getting in and starting the new bridge - we don’t want to muck around with the project too much longer - we want to get on and build it.”
A notable absentee at Monday’s announcement was Kiama MP Gareth Ward, who was “carrying out other parliamentary duties”.
He welcomed the improvements to the concept designs and surrounding intersections.
“I’m particularly happy with the changes around Illaroo Road and a dedicated left northbound turning lane which was something I was fighting for,” he said.
“Residents of Bomaderry and North Nowra know how bad congestion is around this area, as do I. I live in Bomaderry and have to travel into Nowra. This changes together with a few others will make significant impacts.
“As for a bypass of Nowra, I can see a time when that will be required but at the moment we need to replace the bridge and that’s what Shelley Hancock and I have been working towards.”