Nowra Bridge project - Princes Highway upgrade

Roads and Maritime Services is planning for a new Princes Highway bridge over the Shoalhaven River at Nowra. The project would upgrade intersections at Bolong, Illaroo and Bridge roads and at Pleasant Way. The project would improve traffic flow on the Princes Highway and deliver faster and more reliable journeys within the Nowra-Bomaderry area.

The NSW and Australian Governments have each committed $155 million to the project.

Artist's impression of the new Norwa Bridge
Artist's impression of the new Norwa Bridge

Updates and announcements

The display of the preferred option has closed

Roads and Maritime displayed the preferred option (PDF, 430Kb) for community feedback between 19 February 2018 and 23 March 2018. We thank the community for taking the time to have their say during this display period.

Roads and Maritime will use the feedback from this display period to further refine the project design and develop the environmental assessment.

We will continue to keep the community updated as the project progresses.

Next steps

Roads and Maritime is reviewing each submission received during the display period, all submissions will be considered in the next stage of the design process. A Consultation Summary report will respond to the submissions in the coming months.

  Upcoming planning activities include:

  • Review community feedback
  • Advance the concept design
  • Prepare the environmental assessment for the project.

The timing of construction is not confirmed and is dependent on planning approval and funding availability.

Project background

This project is being developed to improve conditions on the Princes Highway over the Shoalhaven River in Nowra.

During early investigations, the project team identified some key issues with the current crossing of the Shoalhaven River at Nowra:

  • Increasing maintenance difficulties with the old Nowra Bridge
  • Increasing congestion issues in peak times from local traffic
  • Some large and heavy trucks cannot use the old Nowra Bridge
  • High risk of damage and closure of the old Nowra Bridge from an impact by an over height vehicle
  • Increased demand and future traffic growth
  • Higher than state average annual crash rates on the Princes Highway leading up to the bridge.

Around 50,000 vehicles cross the Shoalhaven River on an average day. Any extensive closures of the iron truss bridge due to maintenance or emergency repairs would cause major delays to the network around Nowra. During early planning it became clear that the project should focus on a new bridge that could address these key issues.

Preferred option

Based on multiple options assessment exercises a preferred option for the project was determined and put on display for community feedback between 19 February 2018 and 23 March 2018.

The preferred option includes:

  • A new northbound four lane bridge
  • Reconfiguration of the existing concrete bridge to carry southbound traffic
  • Intersection upgrades at Illaroo Road, Bolong Road and Bridge Road
  • New Pleasant Way T-intersection
  • Keeping the old southbound bridge for pedestrians and cyclists.

Key benefits include:

  • Improved safety, capacity and efficiency across the Shoalhaven River
  • Improved freight movements and access to the South Coast
  • Better traffic flow now and in the future
  • Improved pedestrian connectivity
  • Preserving the heritage of the old southbound bridge

More information on the preferred option can be found in the Nowra Bridge Project Preferred Option Report or in the Frequently Asked Questions.

Princes Highway intersection options

Due to constraints including high traffic volumes in the area, the process of identifying, developing and evaluating options for the new bridge and intersection upgrades was complex. Over 19 options for the project were initially identified, assessed and shortlisted into six main network options. These options were then tested and compared to each other considering:

  • Traffic performance
  • Ease of construction
  • Property impacts
  • Environmental and heritage impacts
  • Road and urban design options
  • Future maintenance needs
  • Value for money
  • Key stakeholder feedback.

The preferred option is a balanced proposal which addresses the project’s objectives.

Future of the old southbound bridge

The future of the old southbound bridge has been the subject of extensive investigation by Roads and Maritime and external experts.

To reach a recommendation, various options were considered and assessed. The criteria used for assessment included the significance of the bridge, the expected benefits, estimated costs and community and stakeholder feedback and expectations.

We are proposing to keep the old southbound bridge for pedestrian and cyclist use. Key findings of the reviews found:

  • There are considerable heritage and social impacts associated with any option to remove the bridge (in whole or part)
  • The bridge is operationally unsuitable to cater for future traffic demands and should be closed to vehicles once a new bridge crossing of the Shoalhaven River is open to traffic.
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