Building a new bridge over the Shoalhaven River would be more effective than a Nowra bypass when it comes to dealing with traffic congestion.
A bypass of the South Coast town has been spoken about for some time, due to the belief most traffic on the Princes Highway is travelling to points further south than Nowra.
A route that took traffic around Nowra to the west is the most common option, though some have put forward an eastern bypass to take in the small towns on the South Coast.
In assessing the need for a new Nowra bridge Roads and Maritime Services looked at the effect a bypass would have on traffic.
It found a bypass would only have a limited effect on vehicle numbers.
“The need for a bypass has been examined and the traffic modelling has shown this would only take about 15 per cent of current traffic out of the Nowra Bomaderry network,” a Roads and Maritime Services community consultation report found.
By comparison, the report said the Berry bypass was expected to take between 75 to 80 per cent of traffic out of the town, and the Albion Park Rail Bypass will see an expected reduction in vehicles travelling along the highway in the order of 70 to 75 per cent.
According to Roads and Maritime Services, around 85 per cent of motorists travelling over the river have their start and end point in the Nowra Bomaderry area and would still be using the bridge even if a bypass was built now.
“Building a new bridge now would not preclude the future planning of a bypass if/when traffic demand is reached,” the community consultation report stated.
“However, at this point in time, the Princes Highway Corridor Strategy prepared by Roads and Maritime Services in 2016 does not identify a full bypass of Nowra as a priority.
“A bypass of Nowra would be a significant investment for the community and any proposal would likely need to provide evidence of major benefits for the region.”
The $310 million bridge will be jointly funded by the state and federal governments and will provide four lanes for northbound traffic.
The work will also include upgrades to busy intersections on either side of the bridge.
Fresh plans for the bridge were announced on Monday, which made alterations based on community feedback.
The project is tipped to reduce peak hour travel times through this section of the highway by 75 per cent.