Planning work is due to begin next year on the extension to Memorial Drive, linking it to Bulli Pass.
Shadow minister for the Illawarra Ryan Park previously asked about the status of any further work on Memorial Drive in Parliament.
Yesterday, he got a response from Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) that $500,000 would be spent over the next six months to begin detailed planning work on the extension.
‘‘The previous Labor government invested over $115 million to build the stage from Bellambi to Woonona and since being elected, I have lobbied the NSW government to begin works on the final stage,’’ Mr Park said.
‘‘I am very pleased that we have finally seen the government allocate some initial funds to begin this final stage of a very important road link for the Illawarra community, especially those living in the northern suburbs.’’
The money would be used to carry out a review of past technical investigations as well as looking at preliminary road design, tunnelling and geotechnical investigations.
Mr Park said he was told by RMS that the road corridor had been preserved and no further properties needed to be acquired.
He added that the planning stage would likely include a more detailed idea of the proposed extension, so it was not known yet whether it would include tunnels.
The work would help to provide another entrance to the Illawarra, in addition to Bulli Pass and Mount Ousley Road.
The RMS has previously identified a need to upgrade Bulli Pass at some stage.
‘‘Previous studies have identified that Bulli Pass will need to be upgraded at some point in the future to ensure network integrity between Sydney and the Illawarra and NSW South Coast, as well as to improve road safety and traffic capacity,’’ an RMS spokesman said.
‘‘An improved road crossing of the Illawarra escarpment at or near Bulli Pass would ensure a more stable and reliable alternative route for accessing the Illawarra in the event of Mount Ousley Road being blocked or closed for an extended period of time.
‘‘It would also help facilitate growth in the northern suburbs of Wollongong and provide another route between Port Kembla and Sydney.’’
It will also help to alleviate the heavy traffic flow through Bulli – where Memorial Drive now ends – especially during morning and evening periods.