Relief over Picton Road duplication funding announcement


Wheels in motion for planning but works not likely to finish until 2024

Relief over Picton Road duplication funding announcement
A truck along Picton Road

 

Picton Road freight and safety advocates are lauding the announcement of a $44 million state pledge towards planning the New South Wales route's duplication.

As one of NSW’s crash black spots, it, along with with $35 million in planning money for the duplication of Heathcote Road, is one of the main winners of the recent 2020-21 state Budget.

The funding for the Picton Road duplication in the Wollongong and Wollondilly areas will be delivered over the next four years, for planning to improve safety and connectivity along the road, NSW Minister for Transport and Roads Andrew Constance says in a statement.

"Picton Road is a major arterial road providing connection between the Hume Highway at Wilton and the Princes Highway near Mount Ousley, linking Port Kembla, the Illawarra region and the south coast with Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne," Constance says.

"This commitment will allow Transport for NSW to complete the strategic business case for the upgrade, as well as finalise modelling and options testing at the Picton Road and Hume Highway interchange.

"The funding will also support the completion of the concept design, environmental assessment and planning approvals, and allow the development of the final business case and detailed design of the upgrade."

Upgrading Picton Road was identified as key to meeting the demand for additional freight and improved safety in the NSW Freight and Ports Plan for 2018-2023.

The Picton Road strategic business case, including preferred upgrades, is due to be completed in the second half of 2021, the statement adds.

Once completed, work will start on concept and detailed design.

Early work, for the already funded upgrade on Heathcote Road between Holsworthy and Voyager Point, is expected to start in early 2021, with major work planned to commence in September 2021 and completion expected in late 2024.

The Heathcote Road announcement is in addition to the $183 million in state and federal funding already announced for duplication between Infantry Parade and The Avenue, and $73 million for Heathcote Road Bridge.

The Australian Logistics Council (ALC) says the announcement is a milestone for the supply chain industry as it continues to work with government for better infrastructure and freight corridor planning.
 
"We are thrilled to see this commitment to better infrastructure for our industry with assurance to timelines and budget," ALC CEO Kirk Coningham says.

"The preservation of freight corridors is critical to the future growth of the Australian economy."


Read about Picton Road's unwanted head-on statistics, here


Meanwhile, the move is seen as massive vindication for the Illawarra Business Chamber, on behalf of businesses and communities of the wider Illawarra and south-western Sydney region.

This announcement came in response to the Picton Road Motorway Coalition, a significant advocacy campaign based on evidence produced by Illawarra First.  

"Today’s announcement is the answer we have been waiting for from government to the question posed by our campaign for the upgrade of Picton Road to motorway standard," campaign spokesperson and executive director of the Illawarra Business Chamber Adam Zarth says.

"This initial funding will cover vital planning works to prepare for what we expect will be the much-needed upgrade to Picton Road that will keep the community safer and allow our economies to grow, based on a freer exchange of goods, services and workers.
 
"Government has committed to complete the business case in the second half of next year and to proceed immediately with concept and detailed design work; from there we can expect construction to commence.
 
"This campaign could not have realised the initial success we are seeing today with the direct backing of more than 30 businesses – and many others through their membership of Illawarra First and the Illawarra Business Chamber.
 
"Our evidence-based advocacy has articulated how Picton Road is set to reach peak capacity in five years’ time, with 20,000 vehicles on the road each day, 25 percent of which are heavy vehicles, growing at 7-8 per cent each year.
 
"The campaign has benefited significantly from the support of Nathaniel Smith MP for progressing this issue within government, together with the bipartisan support of Ryan Park MP and Paul Scully MP, who have long advocated for the upgrade of Picton Road on behalf of their communities.
 
"The mayors of both Wollongong and the Wollondilly were foundation members of the campaign and backed us from the start."

Some recent safety upgrades along the route were orchestrated by Transport for NSW.

 

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