The NSW Liberals and Nationals have pulled an ace from their sleeves in the lead up to the 2019 state election, promising nearly a billion dollars in funding for the Princes Highway south of Nowra.
If elected, in the next term of government they will spend $960 million duplicating of sections of the highway between Jervis Bay Road and Sussex Inlet Road, building the Moruya bypass, planning for Milton and Ulladulla bypasses and on highway upgrades from Burrill Lake to Batemans Bay.
The grand plan, according to the Coalition, is to duplicate the highway between Nowra and the Victorian border over the next 20 years.
It would be a $15 billion investment - a price worth paying.
Between July 2012 and June 2017 there were 1494 crashes on the highway from Jervis Bay Road to the Victorian border, resulting in 30 fatalities and 350 serious injuries.
Between December 2017 and June 2018, eight more people lost their lives on the highway south of Nowra.
On Wednesday in Tomerong Premier Gladys Berejiklian, Transport Minister Andrew Constance and Roads Minister Melinda Pavey met with South Coast MP Shelley Hancock to make the historic announcement.
"“Upgrading the Princes Highway will improve safety, improve journey times and more efficient freighting will further boost our already strong state economy,” Ms Berejiklian said.
Minister Pavey said upcoming works would generate tens of thousands of jobs, primarily in construction and engineering, and boost local economies by providing opportunities for suppliers and services needed to support the enterprise.
“The successful training hub program in place as part of the Berry to Bomaderry Princes Highway upgrade will be replicated right along the NSW South Coast, providing locals with priceless jobs and training opportunities that will transform communities for generations to come," she said.
“This commitment is the result of the strong advocacy and persistence of South Coast MP Shelley Hancock, Kiama MP Gareth Ward and Bega MP Andrew Constance.
“This program is on top of our record investment in highways across the state including the Pacific Motorway, the Newell Highway, the Kings Highway – we’re building them all.”
Upgrades along similar patches of road in NSW have saved lives.
There has been a steady reduction of fatalities on the Pacific Highway in the 20 years since the full duplication project started.
This provided a strong case for similar work on the Princes Highway.