The Australian and NSW Governments are funding a new four lane bridge over the Shoalhaven River, upgraded intersections and additional lanes on the Princes Highway.
Fulton Hogan Construction has been awarded the design and construction contract for the project.
Early work activities will start from February 2020. This includes establishing site office compounds and storage areas, demolition of acquired houses and structures, installing temporary traffic control, safety barriers and boundary fencing, survey and geotechnical work, and relocating utility services.
Work will be carried out between 7am and 6pm Mondays to Fridays and 8am and 1pm Saturdays, weather permitting. There may be some work required at night or at other times, to reduce impacts on traffic flow. Nearby residents and the community will be notified in advance of this work.
The Review of Environmental Factors (REF) for the Nowra Bridge project was publicly displayed in 2018 to seek feedback on the proposal. A Submissions Report was prepared to consider all submissions received. The project team are using the recommendations from the Submissions Report to help shape the final design for the project.
The $342 million Nowra Bridge project is jointly funded by the Australian and NSW Governments.
The NSW and Australian Governments have each committed $155 million towards construction, which is separate to funding provided for project planning, property acquisition and rehabilitation of the existing steel truss bridge which are all included as part of the project.
The project is anticipated to be completed by Mid 2024, weather permitting. After completion of the new bridge and associated roadworks, repairs and other works will commence on the existing truss bridge to enable it to be repurposed.
Standard construction hours for the Nowra Bridge Project would be:
- 7am to 6pm, Monday to Friday
- 8am to 1pm, Saturday
Out of hours work, such as night work, would be required where the construction activities would otherwise severely impact traffic flow or stakeholders. For example, work interrupting the operation of the Princes Highway.
For construction works outside of standard construction hours, we would consult with the local community and stakeholders prior to the start of out-of-hours work.
Since 2013, Roads and Maritime has informed, engaged and consulted with the community on the development of the Nowra Bridge Project.
The REF was publically displayed in 2018 and 109 responses were received during the display period. Most submissions were received from the community, including individuals, businesses and community groups. Submissions were also received from Shoalhaven City Council, Department of Primary Industries (Fisheries), NSW Environment Protection Authority, Office of Environment and Heritage, and Natural Resources Access Regulator.
In response to submissions from the community and following further design development since the display of the REF, changes to the REF proposal have occurred.
During construction of the Nowra Bridge project, work will be carried out in a way that it minimises delay and disruption to local and through traffic, including pedestrians and cyclists.
The Princes Highway and local roads such as Bolong Road, Illaroo Road and Bridge Road will generally remain open. However, there will be times when temporary lane closures and detours will be required. Lane closures and detours would be designed to meet all safety requirements for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians.
During construction, there may be temporary increases to travel times for vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians due to temporary speed limit restrictions, detours and increases in the number of construction vehicles. The community would be notified in advance of any temporary local road changes and detours.
During construction, pedestrian and cycle detours will also be in place to ensure work areas are safe. These detours will also be signposted and the community will be notified in advance.
The main issues raised during the REF display included:
- consideration of a bypass of Nowra and Bomaderry
- provision of grade-separation north and south of the Shoalhaven River
- traffic and transport impacts
- property impacts, particularly around the Illaroo Road area
- the level of consultation undertaken during the options identification and selection process.
An additional four-lane bridge on the Princes Highway over the Shoalhaven River has been determined as the most effective way to improve traffic efficiency and reduce traffic delays on the stretch of the Princes Highway between Nowra and Bomaderry.
The project team carried out a wide range of detailed investigations to identify how to achieve this, including a bypass.
Traffic studies identified that about 85 per cent of the current trips travelling across the bridge have their origin and destination in the Nowra or Bomaderry area and would not use a bypass.
The existing southbound bridge is also in poor condition and can only carry highway traffic for a limited time, has substantial maintenance costs, and restrictions on vehicles over 4.6 metres in height.
The Nowra Bridge Project would support future growth in the Nowra Bomaderry area, provide southbound access for overheight vehicles and all types of heavy vehicles across the Shoalhaven River, reduce delays and queuing on the Princes Highway between Bolong Road and Bridge Road, reduce crash rates, and allow safe and efficient maintenance activities on the existing southbound bridge without causing extended delays to the road network.
Roads and Maritime continues to identify ways to improve traffic efficiency on the Princes Highway between Nowra and Bomaderry. In August 2016, the NSW Government published the Princes Highway Corridor Strategy, which sets out the Government's 20 year plan to manage and guide the development of the road corridor. The strategy assessed traffic forecasts and was prepared by Transport for NSW and Roads and Maritime Services.
Grade-separated intersections have been assessed extensively during the development of the design. This included assessing how grade-separated intersections would impact on traffic flow on the Princes Highway as well as the local road network. The environmental impact of grade-separated interchanges was also assessed.
An assessment of 11 grade-separated options was carried out for the proposal. The traffic modelling identified that many combinations of grade-separated intersection options on the northern and southern sides introduced inefficient and unsafe weave, merge and queuing issues that do not presently exist on the network. While these would provide benefits to the local road network, they had the highest level of congestion on the Princes Highway compared to the other network options that were modelled.
There are a number of significant constraints within and adjoining the road network associated with grade-separated options. For example, the land around Bomaderry Creek presents significant geotechnical constraints to road infrastructure design. The land is also flood-prone and additional cost would be incurred to achieve the required level of flood immunity. There would also be potential to affect the local flooding patterns which in turn could impact on other properties.
Grade-separated options would have greater environmental impacts than the preferred option, including additional property acquisition on the eastern side of the Princes Highway for the Illaroo Road intersection. At Bridge Road, additional property acquisition would be required which could potentially impact on the State heritage-listed Graham Lodge property and a grade-separated intersection at this location would not align with Shoalhaven City Council’s planning for the Nowra Riverfront.
Improving traffic flow on the Princes Highway between Nowra and Bomaderry was a key objective during the development of the project, with consideration given to the number of traffic lights on the highway, local intersections and the impacts of holiday traffic in Nowra.
The project would provide additional lanes on the Princes Highway, the river crossings and local road intersections to improve traffic flow and reduce traffic congestion on the highway and provide safer and more reliable access to local roads.
On the north of the river, these include additional lanes both ways on the Princes Highway near Bolong Road, additional lanes turning right into Illaroo Road from the Princes Highway and additional lanes on Illaroo Road to provide access onto Princes Highway. Following community consultation, the upgraded Illaroo Road and Princes Highway intersection will include one dedicated left turn lane and three right turn lanes for motorists travelling onto the Princes Highway.
The river crossing will increase to seven lanes, three lanes for southbound traffic and four lanes for northbound traffic.
On the south of the river, there will be an additional lane for southbound traffic and an additional lane for northbound traffic on the Princes Highway near Bridge Road. The current Pleasant Way and Princes Highway intersection will be closed to improve traffic flow at this section of the highway. A new local road further south will connect Princes Highway to Lyrebird Drive.
All traffic lights will be coordinated and optimised in the project area and further south through Nowra.
Bolong Road, Illaroo Road and Bridge Road intersections will allow for all traffic movements to improve traffic efficiency on the Princes Highway. With the lane increases and optimised traffic lights, traffic modelling has identified that all intersections would provide improved traffic efficiency.
We recognise the community is interested in peak holiday season traffic volumes. Overall, the additional lanes, improved intersections and optimised traffic light network would improve the capacity for traffic and reduce congestion on the highway and throughout the local road network.
The traffic modelling for the project has considered traffic growth up to the year 2046.
There would be changes to the local road network at the intersections of the Princes Highway with Bolong Road, Illaroo Road, Bridge Road, Pleasant Way and new local road connecting Lyrebird Drive to the Princes Highway. These changes will be refined during the detailed design.
The Princes Highway and local roads such as Bolong Road, Illaroo Road and Bridge Road would remain open during construction, however lane closures may be required and some impacts to journey times will be experienced. When lane closures are required, the community would be notified in advance and local detours put into place.
Construction staging would be planned to reduce access impacts to the local road network, properties and community facilities. Lane closures, diversions and detours would be designed to meet all safety requirements for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians.
Use of some parks and open spaces will be affected during construction, including North Nowra Rotary Park and Greys Beach Reserve, particularly in relation to temporary reductions in the availability of parking.
The number of car parking spaces at North Nowra Rotary Park Illaroo Road, Grey Beach Reserve, Fairway Drive, Scenic Drive, Bridge Road and the Shoalhaven Entertainment Centre would be reduced during construction and would become part of the construction area for the new bridge and local road improvement work.
A three and a half metre wide shared use path on the western side of the new northbound bridge would connect into shared paths at Illaroo Road and Bridge Road intersections.
The project improves east-west connections across the Princes Highway for pedestrians and cyclists by providing additional controlled crossings at the Bolong Road intersection and the proposed road linking the Princes Highway with Lyrebird Drive, as well as the shared path underpasses at the northern and southern foreshore. The existing southbound bridge would be retained for adaptive reuse such as a shared pedestrian and cyclist path. Retaining the existing southbound bridge for this purpose would provide a shared path physically separated from traffic, improving links to other active travel routes in the area and making walking and cycling more attractive modes of travel. Transport for NSW will continue to work with Shoalhaven City Council to identify those features.
Water quality has been assessed for the Nowra Bridge Project and water quality controls have been outlined for the construction and operation of the project.
A Soil and Water Management Plan would be prepared and included in the project’s Environmental Management Plan addressing construction risks such as soil erosion and resulting sedimentation of the Shoalhaven River and Bomaderry Creek, as well as fuel and other chemical leaks from plant and equipment.
The concept design includes water quality basins to treat stormwater runoff from the new northbound bridge.
Stormwater from the local road improvement works would be directed into the existing stormwater system.
There will be an increase in noise to some nearby properties while the bridge is being built. The following steps would be used to minimise noise during construction:
- scheduling works to consider less sensitive time periods
- operate and maintain plant and equipment in an efficient and proper manner
- choosing lower noise construction techniques
- choosing lower noise plant and equipment
- site awareness and being considerate on work sites, such as avoiding dropping or dragging equipment and materials.
A Noise and Vibration Management Plan would be prepared as a part of the project’s Environmental Management Plan. This would include:
- noise and vibration monitoring and reporting
- arrangements for consultation
- construction scheduling to minimise noise impacts
- identification of controls to be adopted during construction
- contingency measures to be put in place in the event of unexpected noise issues during construction.
We are now finalising the detailed design for the project and will continue to work with key stakeholders and the community as the proposal progresses into construction, which is expected to start later this year.
For more information, please contact the project team on:
Phone: 1800 331 713