Prime Mover Magazine

Shoalhaven River Bridge of national significance: Infrastructure Australia

A new four lane bridge over the Shoalhaven River has been allocated $155 million from the NSW and Australian Governments.

The project, according to Infrastructure Australia, is of national significance as it will deliver faster and more efficient movement of freight once upgrades to intersections and additional lanes on the Princes Highway are completed.

At present the existing southbound bridge prohibits heavy vehicles taller than 4.6 metres.

Southbound commercial vehicles are required to travel on the northbound bridge under police escort closing the bridge to traffic heading north.

Now classed as a priority initiative with a short term timeframe under five years, the Nowra Bridge is a sound investment according to Infrastructure Australia Chief Executive Romily Madew.

"The existing bridges at Nowra carry more than 50,000 vehicles each day, with the southbound bridge in particular experiencing significant congestion in both the morning and afternoon peaks," she said.

"Peak-hour travel speeds are already extremely slow at 16km/h, and without upgrades, this is expected to deteriorate further to just seven kilometres per hour in 2038," said Madew.

Ms Madew said there was the added constraint that the existing southbound bridge could not carry heavy vehicles taller than 4.6 metres.

Those southbound trucks are forced to travel on the northbound bridge under police escort, which means the bridge is closed to traffic heading north during those times.

"This will result in significant delays for the region's growing population, as well as tourists travelling to the South Coast and freight vehicles, which are critical in linking industry to export markets through Port Kembla."

Freight rail access to Port Kembla was also part of the priority list according to Infrastructure Australia.

"Maintaining efficient movement of freight to and from the port is a nationally significant challenge," Infrastructure Australia said in a statement.

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