The summer holiday trip down the coast could be a lot easier come Christmas 2022.
That’s the year the $550 million Albion Park Rail Bypass could be open to traffic.
That three-year construction period would be similar to two other major road projects on the South Coast.
The bypass, which has been on the drawing board for more than 20 years, finally passed its last major hurdle this week with state Planning Minister Anthony Roberts signing off on the project.
Planning approval has been a long time coming, with Roads and Maritime Services expecting it to come as far back as 2016.
Road and Maritime Services expects shovels to hit the ground in 2019 and had previously stated that it expects the project to be “completed by 2023”.
However a spokesman on Thursday has said work would now take three years, which would mean a 2022 completion date.
This would be a similar timeframe as the three years it took to complete both the Gerringong stage of the Princes Highway upgrade and the Berry bypass.
At 9.8 kilometres the bypass is longer than the Gerringong section of highway but nearly three kilometres shorter than the Berry bypass section.
The construction time-frame will likely mean work on the Albion Park Rail Bypass and the Berry to Bomaderry stage of the Princes Highway will overlap.
The government is considering tenders from three companies to build the bypass – Fulton Hogan, CPB Contractors and a joint venture between BMD and John Holland.
When completed the bypass will include four lanes – with space in the median to enlarge it to six – that will allow vehicles to travel at 100km/h.
The road will bypass six sets of traffic lights – the only ones between Heathcote and Bomaderry – and 16 intersections.