The NSW Government says it will invest more than $300 million in new bridges over the Clyde River at Batemans Bay and Nelligen.
The Government on Friday, June 16, said the infrastructure funding would open the Clyde River to tourism and ease road congestion around Batemans Bay.
Roads, Maritime and Freight Minister Melinda Pavey and Bega MP and Infrastructure Minister Andrew Constance said the government had set aside more than $300 million for the projects.
Mrs Pavey said $15.9 million in this year's budget would be used to plan, investigate and design the best options to replace both bridges.
Mr Constance said it was the “biggest infrastructure announcement for the region.”
“The big news is that we’ve been able to secure them as a line item in the State Budget that will be announced next Tuesday,” he said.
Work however was not expected to begin until 2019, because part of the design work being done by design firm Aurecon would include community consultation.
Geotechnical work had already begun on the Batemans Bay Bridge, but a further environmental impact study would need to be completed, he said.
Construction on the new Nelligen bridge was expected to start six months after construction on the Batemans Bay replacement bridge, and the projects would then run simultaneously.
“Construction will be a big economic boost for the region with hundreds of workers coming to do the work,” he said.
“For me it’s all about the safety of the community.”
The line item in the budget for the Batemans Bay bridge was $220 to $240 million alone.
“These bridges form part of important corridors which motorists use to access the beautiful South Coast,” Ms Pavey said.
“Traffic along these roads is only going to get busier, especially between Sydney, Canberra and the South Coast.
“We could either keep throwing more and more money at maintaining bridges built for the 1950s and 60s, or we could set up the infrastructure for the 21st Century and beyond.
“Using modern materials and design standards, these new structures will be built to have a 100-year lifespan. The new bridges will be far superior to those they are replacing in terms of safety and strength.”
The government said the new Batemans Bay bridge would improve the efficiency of freight movements across the river, fix structural issues, reduce maintenance costs, and reduce economic and social impacts resulting from road closures.
“These two new bridges will ease congestion and provide a safer journey for the motorists who use them daily,” Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said.
Mr Constance said the funding was a huge win for a community which had faced traffic delays for years.
“Safety is our number one priority, and these new bridges will make the area easier to access during peak tourism periods and ease some of the congestion we have been experiencing on the Princes Highway for years,” he said.
“The new bridge would also provide better access for tourism vessels and will hopefully encourage more people to access one of the great attractions in Batemans Bay - the Clyde River.”
Mr Constance said a new 2.5 metre wide shoulder will be provided on the Kings Highway bridge at Nelligen, along with barriers separating the footpath from vehicles.
A number of intersections along the Kings Highway at Nellingen will be upgraded as part of the new bridge alignment.
“With new approaches to the bridge, the road will not only be safer, but will also ensure shorter travel time and more efficient road access,” he said.
“We are consulting with the community and conducting studies on environmental factors, including noise effects and heritage issues, and will deliver the best option to replace both bridges.
“The South Coast has boomed, it's time we moved with the changes and the time is now.”