Improving West Dapto links crucial goal in plan

Road and public transport access to West Dapto has been prioritised in the government's Illawarra Regional Transport Plan released on Tuesday.

The report covers the Wollongong, Shellharbour, Kiama and Shoalhaven areas and identifies a range of transport infrastructure needs across the region.

"This work ensures our transport and roads network are delivered and prioritised based on evidence and connect residents with jobs, healthcare, education options and town centres, now and into the future," Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian said.

One of the priorities identified in the plans was a focus on improvements to the West Dapto area.

"West Dapto is the main growth centre in the Illawarra region with around 19,000 new dwellings planned over a 30-40 year period," the plan said.

"A program of infrastructure upgrades will be required to accommodate increasing travel demands."

The plan promises the government will "support the planned growth around the new release areas of West Dapto, Calderwood and Tallawarra" by widening sections of the M1 and adding new ramps and interchanges, and also enlarging the Princes and Illawarra highways.

It also labels providing an "appropriate level of bus service" to West Dapto as a "medium to longer-term" priority.

The 44-page plan also sets a reduction of travel times from Wollongong to Sydney as a priority, as well as upgrades to highways and the protection of corridors between Sydney and Canberra for the potential introduction of high speed rail.

Shellharbour MP Anna Watson has repeatedly criticised the government for delaying the release of the Illawarra plan, which was meant to come out at the end of last year and was unimpressed.

"It's no wonder the NSW government released this plan in the late afternoon today, it's an April Fool's joke," Ms Watson said.

"Every project is either old or a re-announcement," she said.

"There is no new money in the plan. Illawarra regional stakeholders who were expecting a substantial transport planning document will simply be dismayed by this rubbish."

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