The number of lanes on Picton Road needs to be doubled – and work needs to begin soon.
That’s one of the recommendations from the Illawarra Business Chamber in its submission to the NSW government’s Future Transport 2056 strategy.
The document also supported the government’s planning work on projects like the Mt Ousley interchange, extra lanes on the M1 between Picton Road and Bulli Tops and the Albion Park Rail bypass.
But the chamber felt Picton Road needed serious attention – and in the next five years.
“Recent improvements to the road have made a substantial difference and ongoing improvements focussing on the safety and utility of the road are necessary,” the submission stated.
“However, priority should be given to full duplication of the Picton Road between the Hume Highway and Princes Motorway, rather than just improvements, to match the projected growth and usage of the road as the predominant east–west link to and from Wollongong.”
There is also the possibility of a second escarpment crossing, with the chamber suggesting the government needs to work out if that is a higher priority that the outer Sydney orbital road (which would better link the region to western Sydney).
There are concerns that many of the region’s key roads will become congested in the future, leading to increased travel times.
The submission also puts forward the South West Illawarra Rail Link – an upgraded version of the Maldon-Dombarton line – as a “priority project” that should be delivered by 2027.
Public transport transport options like improved park and ride facilities for buses and trains also featured in the submission.
“Business, investment and tourist opportunities are being lost due to existing congestion pressures and a lack of affordable and efficient public transport links,” said chamber executive directorChris Lamont.