The NSW government is pushing forward with its plans to build the long-awaited Albion Park Rail bypass.
The government will on Monday call for registrations of interest from tenderers to design and build the bypass, which has been dubbed by Roads and Maritime Services as the “missing link” between Sydney and Bomaderry.
Fifteen million dollars was allocated in the 2016-17 state budget to continue the project’s planning and pre-construction works.
Parliamentary secretary for the Illawarra Gareth Ward said the call for tenderers to register their interest was “a clear indication that the project will happen”.
“This will be the largest-ever single investment in the history of the Princes Highway in the Illawarra and it will be the largest infrastructure project ever undertaken by the state government in the Illawarra,” Mr Ward said.
Applications for registrations of interest have been invited from contractors that are already on the Roads and Maritime Services’ (RMS) register of pre-qualified contractors.
A shortlist will then be selected from those applications, Mr Ward said.
Once built, the bypass would provide a 9.8-kilometre extension of the M1 Princes Motorway between Yallah and Oak Flats, bypassing Albion Park Rail.
According to the RMS, the bypass would be two lanes in each direction, with capacity for additional lanes, and be signposted at 100km/h.
“This [call for interested parties] is a major step forward in this project,” Mr Ward said.
“Having experienced the flooding, as people have done for many years, they would agree it was high time this project happened.”
The new road infrastructure also can’t come soon enough for Labor Member for Shellharbour Anna Watson, who has repeatedly called for a construction timetable.
In 2015, then NSW Premier Mike Baird vowed to spend $550 million on the Albion Park Rail bypass during a pre-election visit.
Mr Ward said the bypass was on track and stood by his previous commitment the project would start in 2019
“Particularly with flooding, which I was stuck in at Albion Park last week, people would like this project to happen faster,” he said.
“I’m doing everything I can to make sure that this project happens as soon as possible. We are on track with the timeline I promised at the election.”