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Are discussions of the Mogo Bypass in the wind for 2021: and what of Narooma?

As the Batemans Bay Bridge project approaches its completion the next focus for road improvements in the Eurobodalla will be the proposed roundabout on the Princes Highway south of Batemans Bay that will see the last section of the "Spine Road" constructed and connected to the highway allowing residents and visitors to bypass Batemans Bay and hopefully reduce traffic volumes on Beach Road.

Fill from the proposed intersection round-about works (with a budget of $30 million) are also hoped to straighten out the Mad Mile. To date the NSW State Government primary road works have been north of Batemans Bay in the Federal electorate of Gilmore. Many believe this will auger well for any prospective Liberal candidate at the next election able to lay claim on the new infrastructure as a feather in the cap. The NSW government are predicting a 15% increase in regional population by 2031 and predict freight movements to double. Part of that plan is to increase the capacities of the roads to service 26m B-Doubles. The justifications around the replacement of the Batemans Bay Bridge included its inability to carry B-doubles. Eurobodalla remains one of the few shires in the NSW without any access for 26m B-double transport vehicles. This places Eurobodalla in a 'black hole' when potential business investors look to establish commercial ventures In order to extend that range south of Batemans Bay the RMS will have to look closely at two pinch points. Mogo and Moruya. The Moruya by-pass is already on the design table. The new bypass will have the capacity to carry B-Doubles with a new bridge proposed east of the township that will connect the highway just north of the Moruya Industrial Area to Noads Road in the south where it will rejoin the highway. This route will run to the eastern boundary of the new Eurobodalla Regional Hospital. Whilst not formally announced the indicators offer a reasonable assumption. Mogo offers up a different problem all together for B-Doubles. The Eurobodalla Shire Council Submission to the Future Transport Strategy states "The timing of the by-pass at Mogo is anticipated to be medium to long term and will depend on the short term solution provided to widen Mogo bridge and provision of a suitable intersection treatment at the Princes Highway/Tomakin Road intersection." In December 2020 Transport for NSW began exploring ways to make Mogo safer for pedestrians, to help local businesses, support tourism and allow residents to easily access the town centre. It launched an online survey to get public input into what might be done to improve safety and connectivity in and around Princes Highway. What was missing was any opportunity to discuss the ideas that are happening behind the scenes of a Mogo Bypass. The first option on the table was presented to the South East Area Transport Strategy (SEATS) group by Eurobodalla Council suggesting a bypass to the west of the township following the more direct line of the existing electricity easement. The next option being offered, and a far cheaper, more immediate one to facilitate B-Doubles and remove them from the township, is to bypass Mogo to the east from Dog Trap Road to meet with James Street and then send the bulk of B-Doubles down Tomakin Road to meet George Bass Drive. That will then enable the trucks to reconnect with the new Moruya Bypass and also remove them from trundling through the already congested Vulcan Street and the three round-abouts on the southern end of the town. Rather than look to either of these strategies in the short term Council is instead looking at making modifications of its own on Tomakin Road by installing a B-Double friendly roundabout at the access to the Charles Street carpark to overcome the entry/egress issues that have already come to bear. These issues will continue to magnify with Council's intention to have this carpark as a staging post for their Mogo Adventure Hub Mountain Bike Track that they say will bring 46,000 more people to the carpark each year.

Above:Why would Council want to have B-Doubles turning off the highway into Tomakin Road? Image above extracted from a proposed Council PLAN 3864 In the Eurobodalla Shire Council Submission to the Future Transport Strategy they say: "The key priority for bringing Eurobodalla transport infrastructure in line with current needs is ensuring full B-double access on both the Princes and King Highways. There is currently no 26m B-double access to Eurobodalla either via either of these routes.

"We urge the Future Transport Strategy to prioritise the necessary works to:  extend the currently Gazetted Class 2B-double route south from BTU Road in South Nowra to Batemans Bay, Moruya, Bodalla, Dalmeny and Narooma commercial and industrial precincts  - undertake necessary works from Nowra to Narooma on select bridges, road alignments and overtaking lanes to accommodate Class 2B-doubles  - provide suitable combined truck rest stops and coupling/uncoupling areas at Batemans Bay, Moruya and Narooma. The RMS should assess the suitability of the truck rest area at Waldrons Swamp at North Moruya for this purpose  - fund the assessment of existing industrial and commercial precincts within Eurobodalla for suitability of Class 2B-doubles Once the Moruya Bypass is in place the next hurdle will be Narooma. In the Eurobodalla Shire Council Submission to the Future Transport Strategy Council states: "To reinforce the critical nature of these priorities, further detail on the current Narooma Bridge illustrates the current safety and freight impacts. The northern approach on the bridge over Wagonga Inlet at Narooma causes trucks and buses to cross the incorrect side of the road to get onto the bridge. This is unacceptable and poses a safety hazard to the travelling public, a significant risk to the NSW Government and the Eurobodalla economy. "The bridge structure has already been damaged on a number of occasions after being hit by errant vehicles. It is a known risk. There is no acceptable alternate route if the bridge structure were to be damaged and the highway closed to traffic. "In 2016, Eurobodalla Shire Council submitted a proposal to the RMS draft Princes Highway Corridor Strategy that longer term plans should be developed for this bridge replacement. The Corridor Strategy correctly identifies the significant risk of catastrophic failure of the bridge due to impact of trucks into the bridge structure. A short term action to realign the northern approach onto the bridge should be implemented. The RMS has previously developed concept plans for this work. The RMS advise that the existing bridge is unsuitable for higher productivity vehicles (or even concessional mass limit (CML) vehicles), meaning the structure is no longer ‘fit for purpose’ as a highway bridge."

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