by Anna Watson

Transport for NSW have created an interactive e-book to mark the completion of the Albion Park Rail bypass. According to Transport for NSW, the e-book celebrates the journey of the project and tells the story of the Albion Park Rail bypass.

Member for Shellharbour, Anna Watson MP, has taken the opportunity to slam the NSW Government, for choosing to exclude Dapto residents from accessing the bypass and refusing to address critical road access issues in the area.

“I wonder if the book contains a chapter about how Dapto residents were deliberately misled and then excluded from accessing the bypass altogether? Or how 7 years on, the NSW Government has failed to deliver any tangible outcomes from their so-called investigations into future improvements to the M1 Princes Motorway between Figtree and Dapto” said Ms Watson.

According to the Transport for NSW website, Roads and Maritime began a modelling exercise to assess the current and anticipated future performance of the M1 Princes Motorway between Wollongong and Dapto, with this project to ‘tie in with other motorway projects undertaken for the Albion Park Rail bypass and Mount Ousley Interchange’.

Whilst the Albion Park Rail bypass is now complete and open to traffic, planning for future improvements to the M1 Princes Motorway corridor in Dapto remains at a standstill, having not progressed from the preliminary investigations stage since 2015.

In a response to representations made by Ms Watson on the issue, Transport for NSW has advised that it plans to present draft recommendations to the community by the end of 2022.

The NSW Government first committed to the Albion Park Rail bypass project in March 2015, with the first sod turned in February 2019, just weeks prior to the State Election.

The Albion Park Rail bypass was initially marketed with the inclusion of the Yallah Interchange, which would have provided southbound access to the bypass for Dapto residents.

However, in August 2018, Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) revealed that the Yallah Interchange would be excluded from the Albion Park Rail bypass project, subject to future funding and traffic demand. This is despite the project cost blowing out by $80 million.

The West Dapto Urban Release Area is one of the largest and most significant growth areas outside of Sydney, which upon completion will include approximately 19,000 new dwellings, housing over 50,000 residents.

“With no southbound access to the bypass, Dapto motorists are forced travel along the M1 Princes Motorway, to access key areas to the south such as Shellharbour, Kiama and Nowra. They must allow over 30 per cent more time for their journeys, are forced to encounter 16 additional intersections and a further six sets of traffic lights” said Ms Watson.

At present, there are no entry or exit ramps on the southern sides of the Kanahooka Road or Fowlers Road overpasses and no entry or exit ramps in either direction at Emerson Road.

“Dapto residents are left with only two options for southbound access to the M1 Princes Motorway. They can either link up to the Motorway at Yallah or by first travelling north to use the on-ramp at Northcliffe Dive in Berkeley.”

“The latter option adds an additional 10 to 15 minutes to their trip, forcing residents to travel in the opposite direction for a number of kilometres, just to enable them to turn around and head back in a southbound direction. It’s inconceivable that any Government would find this acceptable.”

“This journey is a part of so many residents’ daily lives and the fact that these motorway ramps at Fowlers, Emerson and Kanahooka roads were never built beggars belief.”

“These ramps are well overdue and are desperately needed to effectively connect Dapto to the southern parts of the Illawarra and beyond.”

“Dapto motorists have every right to be fed up. Road infrastructure in the area clearly isn’t meeting their needs or expectations and it’s only getting worse as more people move to the area.”

“When will this Government finally deliver some tangible outcomes for the long-suffering motorists of Dapto? Delivering the much-needed additional M1 on-off ramps at Kanahooka Road, Fowlers Road and Emerson Road must be prioritised” said Ms Watson.