The Beagle Editor, There has been much said recently in the media about the condition of the Princes Highway. On a recent trip to the South East Premier Gladys Berejiklian joined Transport and Infrastructure Minister and the Member for Bega Andrew Constance to inspect progress on the NSW Government’s $45 million upgrade of the Princes Highway at Dignams Creek and commended “The upgrade will improve safety and efficiency by widening about 800 metres of the Princes Highway and building a new two kilometre section of the road to meet current standards.” Andrew Constance added “The realignment of the highway has been many years in the making and it’s pleasing to inspect the progress to date”. The location was a high risk zone and one of many on the South Coast that are too narrow, too sharp, have the wrong chamber and even the wrong speed designation. Fixing 800m at a time is clearly not enough to satisfy the community who drive this highway. In her visit to the Eurobodalla she said nothing of the Batemans Bay bridge or made any comment about the condition of the highway south of the Shoalhaven. There was no announcement for road works, even minor. There was no mention of the last section of the Spine Road bypass that now awaits State funding to build an intersection with the highway just south of Batemans Bay. There was no mention of anything in the way of road or bridges at all which is odd when you consider she was travelling with the Transport and Infrastructure Minister and the Member for Bega Andrew Constance. Earlier this year the Premier announced she was considering "a suite of measures to crack down on a rising road toll", including the introduction of more speed cameras. Among the measures in your "suite" you suggested more police drug-testing units and more point-to-point cameras that measure the average speed of vehicles over long distances however you were advised that in NSW the point-to-point camera system applies only to heavy vehicles. Ours is not a problem of drugs or trucks but of alignment and condition and increased traffic volumes that increase the probability of something going wrong. Your readers might be interested in a letter I have written to the Premier The Hon. Glady’s Berejiklian MP
Recently you travelled on the Princes Highway during your visit to Tathra and Batemans Bay . The Princes Highway connects with all the coastal towns from Sydney to Victoria. You would have noticed it is a busy highway with poor alignments and sight distances in many places. Many corners slope the wrong way or are poorly shaped. Several bridges are barely adequate. The Mogo bridge being one of those bridges on a bend and at a “T” intersection. Many towns and villages need to be bypassed. Future Princes Highway Plans or corridors need to be developed to accommodate future town by passes in the Eurobodalla Shire in particular.
You made comments on the radio just a few days ago about preparing paperwork or documents in relation to identifying the Princes Highway as a Road of National Importance or significance. It was once known as Highway No 1, as I recall. The Princes Highway between Sydney and Melbourne carries a lot of traffic servicing the eastern NSW populations as you would be aware. The NSW Government via its Roads and Maritime branch has allocated funds to upgrade sections of the princes Highway South of Sydney to Nowra and Ulladulla with what was a 20 year plan. The plan needs to be a 50 year + plan though, with National funding being made available. There’s been many National Roads Conferences in the past where National road funding for the Princes Highway has been mentioned but nothing of any real significance has resulted from those discussions.
I suspect you’ll pass this onto senior RMS staff as has occurred in the past where they give a standard reply that achieves nothing. Premier, will your Government think more seriously about the Princes Highway and what’s required to bring it up to a better standard in the Eurobodalla Shire to better service the shire's residents and taxpayers in the immediate future and allocating more resources so it happens?