The NSW Budget yesterday told a long-awaited tale of two bridges – but must be considered in the context of the whole of the Eurobodalla Shire.
The news that $300 million was set aside for new bridges at Batemans Bay and Nelligen is welcome.
No-one could begrudge the dollars spent on the Princes Highway in recent years. Anyone driving from Dignams Creek to Sydney must appreciate the safer driving conditions that have, or will, result.
The safer turn to South Durras, in the north of the shire, is a case in point. That improvement followed a successful community campaign.
Narooma folks are in the midst of their own campaign for a safer entrance to their town.
Many are looking longingly to the honey pot, hoping something sweet comes their way soon to realign the Princes Highway at the north of their town.
Asking for funding is easy; finding the funds in the state’s coffers, amidst competing political interests, is tougher. A united front at local and state level is the approach most likely to work.
Eurobodalla Shire Council appears to be enjoying a collegiate relationship with the NSW Government right now – an atmosphere in marked contrast to the recent past.
For now, Narooma must be content with funding for 500 metres of shared pathway at McMillan Road. However, the safety problems at the entry to the town will only get worse as traffic increases. Let’s hope the funding pipeline wriggles its way down the coast to ensure this safety issue is fixed.
Meanwhile, many in the north of the shire are grieving in advance the loss of the old Batemans Bay bridge.
No-one likes the break downs and the delays – nor could they possibly like the more than $1 million said to be spent each year on its maintenance. However the bridge itself has a place in people’s hearts.
Noal Annabel, last year, confided his idea that the steel from the bridge – when it is decommissioned – could be given to artists to create sculptures to decorate the shire.
Perhaps one of those “sculptures” could be a sturdy working model of the original bridge – to be kept outside for children to appreciate how it worked.
The kind of traffic jams kids could create with toy cars on such a structure may or may not induce the intensity of rage the current bottlenecks do.