The construction company responsible for some of the region's major road upgrades has won the contract to build the long-awaited Nowra Bridge.
Fulton Hogan, the firm behind the Gerringong stage of the Princes Highway upgrade, the Berry bypass and the Albion Park Rail bypass, will design and build the third crossing of the Shoalhaven River.
Kiama MP Gareth Ward said this local knowledge didn't give Fulton Hogan the inside running in the tender process.
"We look at the projects in isolation," Mr Ward said.
"Building a bridge of this size and magnitude is actually quite different from building a highway. We look at capacity and track record but we were looking at a number of companies that had made bids for this work."
The new-four lane bridge will replace the old two-lane iron bridge, which has begun to require increasing amounts of maintenance work.
"The old Shoalhaven River bridge is almost 140 years old," Mr Ward said.
"It was built as a railway bridge. It was never built to withstand an average of 55,000 vehicle movements every day."
The $342 million project is jointly funded by the state and federal governments - which had allowed construction to be brought forward - and the bridge is expected to be open to traffic in mid-2024.
"About 50,000 motorists already cross the Shoalhaven River every day and with traffic only set to grow, this project will ensure safer and more reliable journeys now and for the future," said Regional Transport and Roads Minister Paul Toole.
Work is expected to start in the coming weeks, with the relocation of utilities and demolition of acquired properties.
"The first thing I've asked them to do is remove houses that were purchased along Illaroo Road," Mr Ward said.
"They're a bit dilapidated and they need to be done away with to make way for the dedicated left-hand turn out of Illaroo Road."
The new bridge will alleviate what is becoming a bottleneck for traffic as the Princes Highway upgrades gradually come online, delivering vehicles to the Shoalhaven River crossing at a faster rate.
It will be used by motorists travelling north, with the existing northbound three-lane bridge changed to a southbound traffic flow.
In addition to the new bridge work will be done on the approaches, including the intersections at Illaroo Road, Bolong Road and Bridge Road.
A new local road will be constructed to link Lyrebird Drive with the Princes Highway.