Regional Development Australia (RDA) - Illawarra has welcomed the Federal Government’s announcement of $240 million to fund the Mount Ousley Interchange project.
The funding, announced in Budget previews and confirmed by the Hon Paul Fletcher MP, Minister for Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities and the Arts (Monday, 10 May 2021) brings total funding for the project to $261 million, of an estimated total requirement of $300 million.
It comes after the NSW Government announcement of $21M in November 2020 for detailed planning, utility service investigations, environmental assessments and property acquisition.
“We are delighted about the announced funding for a project that is included as transformational infrastructure in the Illawarra-Shoalhaven City Deal. The combined support of NSW and Federal Governments should see the project fully funded to completion,” said Debra Murphy (Chief Executive of RDA – Illawarra).
The interchange will replace the existing intersection of the Princes Motorway and Mount Ousley Road, which currently experiences long queues and delays during peak periods.
The project will deliver new roundabouts, a heavy vehicle bypass lane and exit ramp, two heavy vehicle safety ramps, a commuter car park and active transport connections. Also included in the concept design is an additional exit to the University of Wollongong to reduce congestion during university peak times.
Completion of the project will improve safety for passenger and freight vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists; improve access to and from the Princes Motorway, the University of Wollongong and the Wollongong CBD; reduce travel times and provide for future traffic growth. The total economic benefit is estimated at $46 million annually.
While welcoming the funding, RDA Illawarra is also calling for further investment to increase safety and capacity on Mt Ousley and Picton Roads.
“The Mt Ousley interchange should be considered as just one link in the vital connection between Port Kembla, Wollongong and Western Sydney,” continued Murphy. “The Illawarra-Shoalhaven City Deal makes a case to complete Picton Road duplication and widening of Mt Ousley Road in conjunction with the Mt Ousley interchange,” she said
RDA Illawarra and its partners in the Illawarra-Shoalhaven City Deal recognise that Picton and Mt Ousley Roads comprise a major transport connection between the region and a rapidly expanding Western Sydney.
Heavy vehicles already make up 25% of its 20,000+ daily vehicle movements and the 27km of Picton Road is largely single lane. Recent improvements have focused on safety and delivering additional passing lanes but Picton Road – in its current configuration - is forecast to reach capacity by as soon as 2025. Development of an additional 73,000 homes at Wilton and Greater Macarthur will add further pressure by 2040.
“Now is the time for investing in critical, transformational infrastructure that has local, state and national impact. RDA Illawarra will continue to advocate for additional funding to widen Mt Ousley Road and complete the duplication of Picton Road in the same timeframe as completion of the new Mt Ousley Interchange,” added Murphy.
Read more about the Illawarra-Shoalhaven City Deal here.