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Today's big Roads announcement by the PM delivers little for the South East

The PM today announced "Federal and State Liberal and Nationals Governments will support nearly 5,500 jobs across New South Wales through a joint $1 billion investment in shovel-ready infrastructure projects and road safety upgrades." Sounds terrific .... but.... Reading between the lines: What is in it for Eurobodalla? The Federal and State Liberal and Nationals Governments have announced today that they will support nearly 5,500 jobs across New South Wales through a joint $1 billion investment in shovel-ready infrastructure projects and road safety upgrades. Will that bring jobs and $$$ to Eurobodalla?

The funding will be allocated to three key priorities:

  • $240 million to fix 11 congestion hotspots around Sydney, supporting 1,000 direct and indirect jobs;

  • $382 million to help local councils upgrade roads across regional NSW, supporting 3,500 direct and indirect jobs; and

The Prime Ministers' media release is very clear: Fixing Local Roads– repairing, maintaining or sealing priority council roads Yet only last Tuesday Eurobodalla Council advised the primary costs facing the council to justify the 2.6% rate increase was because they needed money to repair and maintain council roads damaged by the bushfires. Note that there are 128 councils in NSW so the figure is actually $2.98m per council. This amount is very close to the 2.6% rate increase council adopted. So if Council accepts the funding, as their share of the announcement, they will be $3m in surplus.

  • $398 million for road safety projects in regional areas, supporting 950 direct and indirect jobs.

If you look at the SAFER ROADS PROGRAM for 2019/2020 you will find the following has already been allocated from last year and is being acted on:

So what "shovel ready" Safer Roads Program projects are in the wings for this $398 million for road safety projects in regional areas, supporting 950 direct and indirect jobs. Note that there are 128 councils in NSW so the figure is actually $3.1m per council. And as to employing 950 - do the sums and it reveals, across NSW, that it will employ 7.4 people per council area. It is important to read between the lines and determine what is news and what is OLD news: On Feb 11th 2020 Infrastructure reported "A range of new road safety infrastructure upgrades are set to be rolled out across NSW as part of a $822 million investment into life saving projects through the Safer Roads Program.Safety barriers, rumble strips and wide centrelines are just some of the upgrades that will be delivered for local communities across city and rural areas."


On Feb 11th 2020 Minister for Regional Transport and Roads, Paul Toole, said round three of the program would see $258 million invested into 383 projects next financial year.

“These are projects designed to save lives. We are committed to reducing the state’s road toll and the measures we are investing in will prevent the loss of more than 1500 lives and serious injuries on our roads over 15 years,” Mr Toole said.

  • Over 230km of safety barriers, which absorb impact forces and protect vehicle occupants, reducing the severity of head-on and run-off-road crashes by up to 95 per cent

  • 2,150km of rumble strips to alert motorists they are departing from their lane, reducing the likelihood of this crash type by up to 25 per cent

  • Almost 1,000km of wide centreline providing a greater distance for drivers to recover from lane departure, reducing the likelihood of head-on crashes by up to 50 per cent and run-off-road crashes by up to 25 per cent

  • Almost 1,500 high-risk rural curve improvements including shoulder sealing, safety barriers, rumble strips, signage upgrades and line-marking upgrades

  • More than 100 urban intersection improvement projects including roundabouts and traffic signal upgrades

But today (June 29th 2020) we have NSW Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Paul Toole saying in the PM's media release " the first round of jointly funded projects would deliver more than 258 projects across 83 Local Government Areas.

“This is money for small projects that make a big difference in people’s everyday lives in regional NSW,” Mr Toole said.

“It means communities right across the State will see work starting on the local roads in their area as soon as next month.” The question is: Is today's joint Federal and State announcement of $398 million Safer Roads Program– including mass action rollout of rumble strips (audio-tactile line marking) in addition to the Feb 2020 State announcement of $258 million invested into 383 projects next financial year" or do we have double dipping of announcements? Today (June 29th 2020) Prime Minister Scott Morrison's media release also said"

Premier of New South Wales Gladys Berejiklian said the stimulus package would drive thousands of jobs and improve the safety and travel times of journeys in both the city and the regions.

NSW Minister for Transport and Roads Andrew Constance said the program was saving Sydney drivers from millions of hours spent in traffic each year.

“Since coming into government we have completed 217 projects with huge benefits across the Sydney network. These include improving safety while busting congestion,” Mr Constance said.

But there is NO mention by the NSW Minister for Transport of regional benefits .

So now the BIG question. After reading all of the above we know that the Batemans Bay Bridge and Nelligen Bridge are not included in the announcement as they are already budgeted for. We know the Spine Road by-pass is already budgeted for. We know the Moruya Bypass is already committed to an already budgeted for. We also know that from the Jervis Bay intersection to the Victorian border there are NO new major road projects in the pipeline. None. No shovel ready projects of any nature that are in the order of the $2.98 million on offer. NSW Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Paul Toole said "the first round of jointly funded projects would deliver more than 258 projects across 83 Local Government Areas." So what are the shovel ready projects for Shoalhaven, Eurobodalla and Bega? All we know of what might be proposed in the long term is gleaned from the PRINCES HIGHWAY CORRIDOR STRATEGY AUGUST 2016

The strategy defines as actions some of the following: An overtaking lane study is recommended for sections of the highway south of Jervis Bay Road. Sections for priority include Jervis Bay Road to Milton, especially southbound, Burrill Lake to Batemans Bay and Narooma to Bega. A detailed intersection analysis that prioritises and recommends minimum treatments needs to be completed between Jervis Bay Road and the Victorian Border to update the report completed in 2003. There are height constraints on the Wagonga Inlet Truss Bridge at Narooma, with no access for vehicles over 4.5m. Vehicles longer than 19m are not permitted between Kianga Road at North Narooma and Jews Creek Road at Bega due to poor alignment issues on the Highway Just over half of the Princes Highway corridor, south of Jervis Bay Road has lane widths less than the Network Target. There are 13 bridges and culverts on the Princes Highway corridor that are less than 7.0m wide and a further 17 bridges and culverts less than 8.4m wide. Many sections of the Princes Highway corridor have sealed shoulder widths below the recommended targets. A targeted clear zone and safety strategy is required on the Princes Highway between Yallah and the Victorian Border. The increased use of Audio Tactile Edge Line should be considered in sections with a high incidence of fatigue and run off road type crashes. Median treatment and roadside barrier may also be considered in these areas where appropriate. The section of the Corridor between Narooma and Bega has the greatest number of slopes with a high risk ARL. Five bridges have been identified as being deficient for HML access and six bridges have been identified with a ‘poor’ Bridge Health Index. Only the Bridge over the Clyde River at Bateman’s Bay is in both of these categories. Develop options for a new bridge over the Wagonga Inlet balancing anticipated freight and regional travel demand against the cost of infrastructure. Commence planning for the replacement of Brogo River Bridge including addressing the constraints and road safety hazards on the southern and northern approaches. NOTE that all of the above are planning actions. There is NOTHING shovel ready that can be paid for from today's announcement.

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