Wednesday’s lock-up of the Princes Highway after a truck spilled its load demonstrates starkly the immediate need for the new crossing over the Shoalhaven River. Traffic was so messed up, we heard reports of motorists taking an hour and a half to get from North Nowra to the bridge.
When an accident south of the bridge momentarily threatened to hold up northbound traffic, it showed how vulnerable our city is when access over the river is blocked. The only alternative route over the river is via Nerriga and Goulburn.
When traffic comes to a standstill it is more than inconvenient; it’s affects business and is potentially dangerous. In the event of an emergency, blocked road arteries can mean the difference between life and death.
Of course, Wednesday was an extreme set of circumstances. However, with the weather warming up and the holiday season bearing down down on us, it won’t be long before the traditional Friday afternoon and Sunday traffic snarls return.
Cast your mind back to last summer, when traffic through Nowra was routinely backed up for several kilometres and every rat run in town was a car park.
Many locals chose not to venture out, which would have had a flow-on effect on businesses trading on Sundays.
We fully accept the new bridge is an important and long overdue piece of infrastructure and will welcome its completion, when it finally happens. We are also bracing for considerable disruption during its construction, knowing it will be inevitable.
However, like many of our readers, we also believe now is the time to start giving serious thought to a bypass that will offer an alternative route over the river and ease our traffic woes.
While it’s unrealistic to expect progress in the short term, unless works begins now to give it some priority we will condemn subsequent generations to traffic much worse than we are seeing now.
Nowra is undergoing a growth spurt, with new subdivisions soon to come on stream, adding thousands of new residents who will rely on our road network. Highway improvements north of Nowra make the region much more accessible to the city, helping to make us a popular destination.
Governments should be able to walk and chew gum at the same time.Likewise, they should be able to get one project up and running while working on future ones.
The bypass needs to be progressed.