Work towards a Nowra bypass should begin sooner rather than later, according to NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance.
Mr Constance said highway improvements between Sydney and Nowra - including the Albion Park bypass and the Berry to Bomaderry upgrade - added to the urgency of finding a solution to Nowra's traffic congestion.
"Berry to Bomaderry and the Albion Park bypass are going to put enormous pressure on Nowra as a chokepoint," he said.
Mr Constance said while a Nowra bypass was traditionally thought of in a 15 or 20-year time frame, "I think the traffic volumes are going to justify it sooner rather than later".
He said his aim over the next 12 months in the lead-up to the federal election was to push for a Princes Highway strategy similar to the one which saw the Pacific Highway duplicated and many towns along its route bypassed.
"The hard, cold reality is the Hume Highway s duplicated now, the Pacific Highway duplicated now. It really does require a 10-year agreement like the Pacific on the Princes Highway," he said.
Mr Constance said he was surprised more effort hadn't gone into pursuing a Nowra bypass at the same time funding groundwork was being laid for the new bridge over the Shoalhaven.
"It's a bridge that has to cater for local traffic so it needed to be built but there has to be a better way to manage the traffic through the town."
The Transport Minister said COVID and the move towards working remotely had added to pressure on regional road networks including the Princes Highway, as people moved out of the big cities.
"What I'm seeing as Transport Minister is a lot of corporations are now telling people come work in an office for three days a week and then the rest of the time is over to you.
"I do believe if we get another seeding event in NSW like what we saw last year, some of of what has have been perceived to be a pandemic workplace practice could become quite a permanent feature."