NSW transport plan responds to challenges of growing Illawarra-Shoalhaven region

By Shannon Jenkins

Wednesday August 11, 2021

The plan aims to promote walking, electric vehicles and public transport
The plan aims to promote walking, electric vehicles and public transport. (Christoph/Adobe)

The New South Wales government has launched a plan that aims to promote walking, electric vehicles and public transport as attractive alternatives to the car for residents in the Illawarra-Shoalhaven region.

The Illawarra-Shoalhaven Regional Transport Plan, released on Wednesday, presents ways the state government can transform the way people and goods travel within, to and through the region over the next two decades.

The region is made up of the local government areas of Kiama, Shellharbour, Shoalhaven and Wollongong, and is currently home to more than 405,000 people.

The plan sets out how Transport for NSW will respond to future changes in land use, population and travel demand in the region, according to transport minister Andrew Constance.

“An extra 100,000 people are expected to call the Illawarra-Shoalhaven home within 20 years, so it is important that we have the right transport services and infrastructure in place to support the region’s growth,” he said.

In addition to the growing population, the regional freight task is expected to increase at an annual rate of 1.4% per annum over the next 40 years, reaching roughly 62 million tonnes by 2056, the report warned.

“This growth will need to be accommodated and be moved efficiently on the surrounding road and rail networks,” it said.

The plan has also noted that the transport sector ‘will need to play a key role in the transition towards a low emissions future’, in support of the state government’s goal to reach net zero emissions by 2050.

Under the plan’s transport vision, one in every five trips will be made by walking, cycling or public transport across the region by 2041. Other key goals set out in the document include improved connectivity between the Illawarra-Shoalhaven and Greater Sydney, a reduction in crash rates on roads, increased uptake of emissions-free vehicles, and greater use of technology to support a safer, more efficient, and accessible transport network.

The plan has identified 71 initiatives across three categories — in delivery, in planning, and for investigation — that support the plan’s vision.

Safety improvements on key roads, increased rail services and improvements to town centres and bus services are among the flagged initiatives.

Member for South Coast Shelley Hancock noted that a $1.9 billion investment in the Princes Highway Upgrade Program — including the upgrade of the Jervis Bay Road intersection, the delivery of the Milton-Ulladulla bypass, and the upgrade of the corridor between Jervis Bay Road and Sussex Inlet Road — have also been included.

“Initiatives in delivery include the 16 Regional Cities program which is boosting bus services to improve connectivity and better meet customer needs in the Shoalhaven, along with the $342 million Nowra Bridge project,” Hancock added.

“The final plan also commits to investigating improvements to freight connections to Canberra and the Far South Coast, public transport opportunities to Nowra and beyond, and fast rail for the Sydney to Bomaderry corridor.”

The plan has been developed in conjunction with the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment’s Illawarra-Shoalhaven Regional Plan 2041.

Transport for NSW has been tasked with reporting on the progress of initiatives every year, and undertaking a review of the plan every five years.

Read more: NSW flags net-zero emissions rail plan


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