Ribbon cut on $62m Princes Hwy upgrade

The weekend's official opening of the Princes Highway upgrade at South Nowra came as the government is touting its "historic levels" of road funding for the region.

On Saturday, Roads Minister Duncan Gay joined South Coast MP Shelley Hancock and Kiama MP Gareth Ward to officially open the $62 million upgrade through the south of the town.

The upgrade consists of four lanes for 6.3 kilometres between Kinghorne Street and Forest Road.

"The $62 million upgrade is part of the NSW government's allocation of $202 million for upgrades to the Princes Highway, this financial year alone," Mr Gay said.

Illawarra's never been better off, says Ward

"These are exciting times for the communities of the Illawarra and South Coast."

Mrs Hancock said the upgrade would improve traffic flow along that stretch of road, particularly during holiday periods such as Christmas and Easter.

"The road has been open to four lanes since before Christmas to ensure motorists could easily travel through the area during one of the busiest times of year," Mrs Hancock said.

"Finishing work has been ongoing since the start of the year and is now completed.

"Additional work at the southern end of the upgrade to widen the road shoulder on the northbound side of the highway between Parma and Forest roads is continuing and is expected to be completed in June, weather permitting."

The $62 million upgrade forms part of the more than $400 million committed to the highway in the past three years. This includes the stage one upgrade of the highway at Gerringong, preparation work for stage two - the Foxground and Berry Bypass - and early planning work for stage three, from Berry to Bomaderry.

The opening comes as the government highlighted it's "record" spending on roads in the region.

Mr Gay said since March 2011, the NSW government had spent and allocated more than $363 million towards building new roads and bridges in the Illawarra - a 70 per cent increase in funding compared with NSW Labor's spend in its last three financial years in office.

However Keira MP Ryan Park defended Labor's record on roads.

"I'll challenge that because Labor delivered two components of Memorial Drive, we delivered the North Kiama Bypass and Oak Flats to Dunmore," he said.

"These were significant investments."

He said the focus now needed to be on projects "vital for the Illawarra", such as the Albion Park Bypass and extending Memorial Drive to Bulli Pass.

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