The long-talked-about Western Bypass of Nowra has been a line on a map for as long as I can remember.
God knows every time I do a story about the replacement of the Nowra bridge over the Shoalhaven River the bypass is always brought up.
Transport for NSW says around 55,000 cars use the crossing of the Shoalhaven River each day and of that 85 per cent of the traffic is local traffic.
The simple scenario is the old iron Nowra bridge is coming to the end of its life and if it's not replaced the area will be left with just three lanes coming in and out of Nowra and Bomaderry - now that would make for some interesting congestion problems.
Local MPs Gareth Ward (Kiama) and Shelley Hancock (South Coast) have both acknowledged a bypass of Nowra "will be required at some stage" but at the moment need was to "secure the crossing of the river" which is "why the bridge is project is important."
But back to the Western Bypass - where is it slated to go?
A look at the Shoalhaven City Council's Local Environment Plan (SLEP) 2014 does shed some light.
A corridor to the west of Nowra has been preserved for any possible future bypass.
The bypass is shown to start on the Princes Highway, north of Pestels Lane.
It continues on the highway alignment until Abernethys Lane before it heads south-west, crossing Bells Lane, cutting across Moss Vale Road near Taylors Lane. (remember that area is also being reconfigured to incorporate the Northern Collector Road).
By the LEP the bypass cuts to the north of the Bernie Regan Sporting Complex at North Nowra, before crossing Illaroo Road near Karana Drive.
The bypass is to the west of Coconut Drive and Pitt Street, crossing Crams Road and McMahons Road to the west of Rockhill Road.
There it will cross the Shoalhaven River heading into the area known as Mundamia.
It is to the west of George Evans and Stonegarth roads, to the east of Flatrock Road, West Nowra.
The bypass will cross Yalwal Road east of Cabbage Tree Lane, before heading south-east towards Albatross Road,
It will cross Albatross Road south of Flinders Road, travelling west of Norfolk Avenue past the Flinders Industrial Estate.
The road skirts the western end of Links Road, cutting through bushland before rejoining the Princes Highway at the north western end of BTU Road south of South Nowra.
Council resolved in 2012, while preparing the LEP that retention of the western bypass route be part of the LEP process.
Council has had countless dealings with the then RMS (Transport for NSW) to be the future acquisition authority for the western bypass.
Council's strategic planning manager Gordon Clark said it was not up to council to provide the bypass but rather "help protect the bypass corridor".
"So we don't have inappropriate development in the area that could compromise the route even being considered at a appropriate point in the future," he said.
The Western Bypass corridor was originally part of the NSW Government's Illawarra Regional Environmental Plan back in 1979, which predates the NSW Government's LEP processes.
That plan identified a regional services corridor that would be provided for various services, including a possible bypass of Nowra.
In fact, some of the Eastern Gas Pipeline infrastructure is within the current corridor.
"It was seen as a strategic corridor that could be used to provide a route for services to the west of the town," Mr Clark said.
"Transport for NSW origin/destination surveys (where they capture cars' number plates on the Princes Highway at the northern end of Nowra and then again at the southern end of Nowra) has shown that only about 10-15 per cent of daily traffic is actually through traffic.
"The remainder is internal traffic, thus meaning while a bypass would be helpful in yearly spike times like holidays etc, the majority of the time it would potentially not alleviate local traffic problems, particularly if it has limited local connection points as is usually the case with bypasses given their intent."
Of course, the proposed route has not formally been surveyed or costed, with the project estimated to cost in the billions.