The Australian and New South Wales governments have jointly funded $84 million for the planning of stages one and two of the project and to build stage one.
Stage one is expected to start in 2017 and will provide an additional lane in each direction between Picton Road and Bellambi Creek. This also includes an improved road alignment at two locations – one south of Bellambi Creek and the other south of Cataract Creek.
Stage two planning will provide an additional lane in each direction between Bellambi Creek and Bulli Tops, which will link in with the recently completed northbound acceleration lane at the intersection of the M1 Princes Motorway and Picton Road.
Minister for Roads Duncan Gay said in a statement that upgrades including widening shoulders to three metres, removal of tight bends and improved drainage will be provided along the length of the upgrade.
“The motorway is currently two lanes in each direction between Picton Road and Bulli Tops and carries around 37,000 vehicles a day, 15 per cent of which are heavy vehicles,” Mr. Gay said.
“One of the key drivers of the project is to increase the reliability of access into and out of the Illawarra region and Port Kembla for general freight and larger vehicles.”
Parliamentary Secretary for the Illawarra Gareth Ward also said in the statement that heavy vehicle traffic on this route is expected to increase by 10 per cent by 2025.
“Due to the tight turns and steep road, heavy vehicles are forced to travel slowly, which creates a marked difference in speed between light and heavy vehicles,” Mr. Ward said.
“A concept design and review of environmental factors is now being prepared and will include investigations on biodiversity, visual impact, water quality, Aboriginal heritage and non-Aboriginal heritage.”