Dion's Bus boss salutes Keira St change

Monday night’s closure of Keira Street will make it easier for buses to arrive on time, said Dion’s Bus Service boss Les Dion.

Today is the last day you’ll be able to drive along the section of Keira Street between Market and Crown streets.

From midnight on Monday, that section will be closed for the next three months to allow for a range of works on the GPT Wollongong Central shopping centre.

Click here for map of Wollongong bus route changes

During the closure, buses will be re-routed along Kembla and Smith streets and while Mr Dion said it would mean commuters would not be dropped off at their usual stops, it would mean the buses could travel their route faster.

‘‘For the rest of our services we can run more to our timetable because they’re not being held up at the Keira – Crown street intersection,’’ Mr Dion said.

Les Dion.

Les Dion.

‘‘The timetable will remain the same and we’ll actually have a better chance of complying with it, given that we’re getting around that bottleneck.’’

Mr Dion said the closure would cause some inconvenience but, without it, Keira Street would still be the same at Christmas.

‘‘For our part we’re very pleased moves have been taken to get this all done and dusted,’’ he said.

‘‘There is a little bit of pain but there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and we’re going to get some good stuff happening.’’

To mitigate the disruption to bus routes, GPT Group’s development manager Steven Turner said the company was putting in a free CBD shuttle bus, to pick up passengers from the temporary stop in Kembla Street and then deliver them to Crown Street, close to where they would have got off before. The bus would also pick up passengers there and take them back to the Kembla Street stop.

Mr Turner said the road would be closed to vehicles from midnight but pedestrians would still have access along the western footpath until Wednesday, when they would be redirected to a new path on the eastern side.

The closure is to allow GPT to repave the road, extend the western footpath for the dining precinct and put in the new kerb and footpath on the eastern side – all work that could not be done with traffic also using the road.

Mr Turner said the building itself could be finished without the road being closed but they would have to return later and address these issues.

He added the closure could have a positive effect on traffic through the CBD, firstly by making the Keira and Crown intersection function better due to one less traffic stream. Also, cars would be able to turn right into Keira Street making it a second option for drivers going to Burelli Street.

The traffic lights at the intersection will be re-phased and a permanent pedestrian crossing put in place on the northern side of Keira Street.

The closure will also encourage motorists to use the CBD bypass of Throsby and Denison streets.

‘‘There is a lot of traffic that comes through and along Keira and Crown streets that is just passing through the city, when it doesn’t need to be in the city – it’s just gong north-south or vice versa,’’ Mr Turner said.

‘‘It’s going to be interesting to see if people who don’t want to be in the city use that bypass and if it works more effectively.’’