If you thought 2020 couldn't throw any more torment our way, think again. Yes, we've seen fire, flood and pandemic but that ain't the last of it. This year from hell has another nasty in its back pocket which is about to have us seeing red:
Coming our way this holiday season is a troublesome combination. There'll be more visitors because international travel is off limits. They'll be travelling roads that are either in the midst of upgrades or badly in need of them.
Already, accommodation is booked solid over the Christmas-New Year period. And already we're seeing bottlenecks in all the usual places. Burrill Lake through to Milton, Falls Creek around the Jervis Bay Road intersection, South Nowra, Central Nowra, through the roads between Bomaderry and Berry. We're not even in peak season but some weekends getting through these logjams requires zen like patience.
In recent days, we've seen two surprising outbreaks of commonsense with regard to getting the highway into shape for the next few decades.
The first instance was the announcement the Jervis Bay Road intersection would get a grade separated intersection - a fly-under, if you like - making it easier for northbound traffic to get onto the highway from Jervis Bay Road.
The second instance was South Coast MP Shelley Hancock's rejection of Transport NSW's preferred option for the Milton Ulladulla bypass, which would have traffic pour back onto the highway just north of Burrill Lake. It's clear the community wants more than a Milton Ulladulla bypass. It wants Burrill Lake and Lake Tabourie bypassed as well.
It's a much more expensive option but one which will stand the test of time a little better than a route marked out on a map 20 years ago.
Any work done on the Princes Highway must take into account the changing demographic nature of the coast. From Nowra all the way to Batemans Bay, we are witnessing a shift, with more young families putting down roots in new housing developments.
Post-pandemic, this move to the coast is only likely to increase as young professionals embrace the working from home revolution.
Forward thinking governments are in the box seat when it comes to making fit for the future infrastructure decisions, with the cost of borrowing is at an all-time low. So we can afford to get the highway right.