Community engagement

Planning is underway for a new bridge to improve conditions on the Princes Highway over the Shoalhaven River at Nowra. Planning is focused on a location to the west (upstream) and as close as possible to the existing crossing. Once open, highway traffic would be transferred off the old Nowra Bridge.

Over the next few months Roads and Maritime will be considering what should happen to the old Nowra Bridge once the new bridge opens.

No decisions have been made and we are looking to have a proposal ready for comment in the first half of 2015. To do this we need to look at the heritage value of the old Nowra Bridge and our responsibilities to conserve it, community input and ideas, and the cost and feasibility of potential outcomes.

These possible outcomes could be:

  • Retaining it
  • Relocating it (whole or in parts)
  • Removing it.

During October, November and December 2014 the project team held information displays at a number of locations and events to talk about these possible outcomes. An online survey was also set up to gather feedback.

The display and feedback period for the future of the old Nowra Bridge is now closed.

Over 1800 people came to our community information sessions and almost 700 people completed the online survey. We also received a number of mailed submissions.

We have now reviewed all this feedback and have produced a Nowra Bridge Project Consultation Summary.

This summary outlines the communication and consultation activities carried out in late 2014 around the future of the old Nowra Bridge. It also provides a summary of the comments and ideas received from stakeholders and the community during this period.

Consultation outcomes are one input to reaching a decision on the future of the Nowra Bridge and we hope to have a recommendation by the middle of this year.

Potential costs for the different outcomes

The costs outlined in the table are early planning estimates that need further investigation. There is a large range of costs for each outcome as there are a number of variables that are still unknown. A tick icon indicates that the item has been included in estimated costs.

Retain Relocate / Remove
Could cost between $15-$25 million Could cost between $10-$20 million
Tick iconPier strengthening
Required maintenance included in estimated costs
Wavy line iconPier strengthening
Work subject to further investigation - not included in cost estimate
Tick iconInvestigate pin joints
Required maintenance included in estimated costs
Wavy line iconInvestigate pin joints
Work subject to further investigation - not included in cost estimate
Tick iconFix damage from heavy vehicle impacts
Required maintenance included in estimated costs
Tick iconRemove
Required maintenance included in estimated costs
Tick iconRemove corrosion and check condition of bearings
Required maintenance included in estimated costs
 
Tick iconRepainting
Required maintenance included in estimated costs
 
Wavy line iconStrengthening of remaining piers - if needed
Work subject to further investigation - not included in cost estimate
Wavy line iconRelocate and re-use
Work subject to further investigation - not included in cost estimate
Wavy line iconReplace pin joints - if needed
Work subject to further investigation - not included in cost estimate
 
Wavy line iconReplace bridge deck - if needed
Work subject to further investigation - not included in cost estimate
 
Additional costs
Annual maintenance - around $15 million over 50 years
Additional costs
Nil - assuming there is no ongoing maintenance cost after the bridge is removed and/or relocated and re-used

The required maintenance activities listed above are based on a structural assessment carried out in 2013. A summary of the assessment report is available on the project documents page.

Heritage registers

The old Nowra Bridge is listed on a number of different heritage registers as having both local and state significance. It is listed on the Roads and Maritime Services Section 170 Heritage and Conservation Register.

Roads and Maritime Services would need to notify the Heritage Council of any significant change to the structure, including changes to its use or removal.

For more information on the old Nowra Bridge’s historical significance please see the latest community update.

Previous community engagement

Community ‘drop in’ sessions were held in late 2013 to introduce the community to the project and seek their feedback on potential options. A Consultation Report outlining the issues and questions raised as part of the consultation in 2013 is available on the projects document page. This information was used to help select the five site options assessed at the value management workshop and will continue to help shape future planning.

The value management workshop (held on 22 May 2014) recommended Roads and Maritime focus planning for a new river crossing immediately west (upstream) of the existing bridges (Option B). There was some support for a new bridge immediately downstream (Option D) to be further developed as a contingency in the event that a design solution for Option B cannot be achieved. The workshop also recommended Roads and Maritime ensure the project address traffic concerns at the intersections at Bolong Road, Illaroo Road and Bridge Road.

In June 2014, Roads and Maritime went to the community to discuss the outcomes of the value management workshop, ask for feedback on the recommended Option B and to identify any issues which should be considered during the next stage of the project development process.

Roads and Maritime received an overwhelmingly positive response from the community about the recommendation to locate a new river crossing immediately west of the existing bridges (Option B).

Information stands were held at Stockland Nowra Shopping Centre, and the project team discussed the workshop process and outcomes with over 950 community members. Through conversations with the project team there was clear support and understanding for the need of a new crossing immediately to the west. Many community members suggested that a long term plan to bypass Nowra was also required for the future to accommodate growth in the area.

Almost all of the people who visited the stand felt that the project needed to address the congestion around the intersections on the bridge approaches.

The community were also invited to participate in an online survey to provide feedback about the workshop recommendations and to identify any issues that they believed Roads and Maritime should consider during the next stage of the project development process.

Roads and Maritime received a total of 450 responses, the majority of which were aware of and supported Option B. However, it is noted that there was some level of support for all options.

Other key issues that were raised by the survey and during the post workshop community and stakeholder engagement included:

  • The project should address traffic issues at the intersections at Bolong Road, Illaroo Road and Bridge Road / Pleasant Way
  • A rail component should be incorporated into any future river crossing
  • The new crossing should make better provision for pedestrians and cyclists than the existing bridges
  • The historic value of the existing iron truss bridge is important to the community and it should be retained for social use
  • Maintenance costs are too high and the existing iron truss bridge should be removed
  • Urban growth in the Nowra area should be considered when planning a new river crossing.

Community feedback was essential for Roads and Maritime when making a final recommendation of the preferred location.

Now that a preferred location (option B) has been identified, Roads and Maritime will start work on concept designs for the bridge, start investigations into the intersections at Bolong, Illaroo and Bridge roads. Consultation with the community will be very important part of the next stage of planning.

More information about the selection of the recommended site, value management workshop and community feedback, can be found in the site options development report on the project documents page.

Share this page: