It should be an interesting meeting next week when Eurobodalla Councillors and staff meet with the RMS to discuss a roundabout at either the North Street (Kentucky Fried) or Beach Road intersections. With the new bridge being built and it being four lanes to cope with the traffic that will increase in the decades to come the RMS is looking at how to manage that traffic when it comes south of the bridge. There is already a clear scratching of heads when we learn that there won't be an off ramp into Clyde Street and to gain access to the foreshore you will need to turn into North Street and then into Clyde Street. This is a "local" and narrow road and is the primary entrance point into the CBD of semitrailers delivering to Woolworths Bridge Plaza. Drivers are already under stress with the navigation required to deliver and that is exacerbated during summer with increased CBD traffic
Above: The proposed replacement of the Batemans Bay Bridge with a new bridge crossing and associated approaches, provides an excellent opportunity to alleviate the existing heavy vehicle movements associated with the Bridge Plaza development within the vicinity of the Princes Highway. The new bridge project provides an opportunity to design and incorporate an exit from the Bridge Plaza site directly onto the Princes Highway for heavy vehicles travelling in a southerly direction With the RMS stating that there will be a NO THROUGH ROAD underpass on Clyde Street to the west the only option available for a semi-trailer delivering to Woolworths and wishing to then drive north on the highway will be to turn out of Woolworths into Clyde Street and then struggle once again with a right turn into a narrow mouthed pedestrian filled North Street.
The construction of an underpass under the new bridge, accessed only via North Street/ Clyde Street, will also require those who want to go to the motels, boat ramp or oyster businesses on the western side of the bridge to make this detour. No doubt this will add further to the impact of traffic along North Street and Clyde Street. Buses also will need to be managed and the new narrow, one-way "pedestrian mall" of Orient Street, designed to quieten traffic will add further local traffic complications. Council have not advised how they intend to manage buses, especially interstate buses, other than to say there will be a bus terminal in the new conference centre that they intend to build on the Batemans Bay Bowling Club site when they relocate the Community rooms and Visitor Centre which will then allow them to sell that land. A roundabout at North Street and the Princes highway might remedy the flow off the bridge however will do nothing to remedy the mayhem that is building in the CBD area. Just a few hundred meters south on the Prince Highway are the traffic lights of Beach Road that have their own "difficulties". Maybe they might become a roundabout. Keep an eye out for Council staff and RMS officers dressed on Day-glo with construction hats and clipboards next week wandering along and pointing at the options. This week saw the revealation by RMS that they do not have a budget for the intersection of the Princes Highway and the new Spine Road Batemans Bay bypass that is designed to take pressure off the considerabe traffic flow from Batehaven and villages south turning onto the highway at the Beach Road intersection. Compounding that flow are the Beach Road/Orient Street lights and in summer the right hand turn into Perry Street that has resulted in local buses taking half an hour to move in the traffic from the Batemans Bay Soldiers Club to their pick-up/drop down-point on Clyde Street. Without the Spine Road intersection being opened a roundabout at Beach Road will present little in the way of a remedy to the woes in the short term. Council revealed in its submission for the recent aquatic centre/ performance centre grant application that there would be an estimated 270,000 visits to the centre each year. That is 739 visits EVERY Day of the year so they must be anticipating a high volume of traffic at this intersection which might see it as the preferred roundabout location. In June this year Federal Member for Gilmore, Ann Sudmalis announced "Batemans Bay’s roads network is in for a major upgrade with millions of dollars pledged by a re-elected Turnbull Government. Minister for Major Projects, Territories, and Local Government, Paul Fletcher, has joined with Federal Member for Gilmore, Ann Sudmalis, to pledge $9 million for vital roads projects. The election funding promise includes $2.5 million for a roundabout and pavement works on Beach Road to create easier and safer access to the Hanging Rock sporting, recreational and cultural complex. “This intersection roundabout is designed to service the high traffic loads using the intersection and improve pedestrian safety to this regional precinct,” Mr Fletcher said. A further $3.5 million has been pledged to upgrade Beach Road between Perry Street and Vesper Street, including installing traffic lights at the Perry Street intersection. “Beach Road is the major regional road servicing Batemans Bay and environs. The section of Beach Road from Perry Street to Vesper Street also directly fronts and services Batemans Bay CBD. “The proposed road upgrade would include increasing Beach Road to six traffic lanes, inclusive of dedicated left and right turn lanes at Perry Street intersection. “The proposal also includes provision of traffic lights at Beach Road/Perry Street intersection, including pedestrian activated crossings to significantly improve access within the CBD and pedestrian safety.’ There is no doubt that Ms Sudmalis, with the RMS, had run all of this by Council staff and Councillors and on the communitys behalf the Councillors must have endorsed it in order for the funds to be committed. So there they are - the intentions, discussions, considerations and ideas of your Council and the RMS as we know them though sadly none of this has been released publicaly and when it does get released it will mostly come as an announcement laced with ego, sugar and spin.
As the key Batemans Bay community (and business) representative on the council Councillor Jack Tait is most likely the best to advise you of any questions you have regarding the current and future plans in the Batemans Bay CBD in regards to traffic flows as he attends all the briefings and endevours to keep himself up to date with RMS communications. Give him a call if you have any concerns. Mobile: 0429 959 487or email firstname.lastname@example.org Maybe one day we might get a media release that asks the community for their thoughts and for a submission to a draft plan as was the case with the North Street Traffic lights. Council staff however have probably already written their submission and most likely already have given it to the RMS and all that needs to be done is to parade the councillors through so they feel that they have played a role in the decisions being made to then rubber stamped the submission retrospectively as they did with the Batemans Bay RMS submission and the Aquatic Strategy that was the contributing document to the $46 million grant application that saw the most deceptive and token "public consultation" yet produced by Eurobodalla Shire Council in decades.