It’s only a matter of months before Dapto residents discover if they’ll be able to use the Albion Park Rail Bypass.
Residents in this suburb need the Yallah interchange to be constructed for them to have southbound access to the long-awaited bypass.
Without it, they will have to continue using the Princes Highway with its multiple sets of traffic lights and 60km/h speed limit.
The government has chosen to shortlist three companies to construct the bypass and their final tenders are due to be handed in soon.
“The tender process to design and build the 9.8-kilometre Albion Park Rail bypass is still under way, with the successful contractor set to be announced mid this year,” a Roads and Maritime Services spokesman said.
READ MORE: APR Bypass focus is not Yallah interchange
The interchange at Yallah has been a cause for concern for Dapto-area residents ever since the Mercury revealed in September that it may not be built.
While calling the interchange “a supplementary item”, Parliamentary Secretary for the Illawarra Gareth Ward has said that the three companies have been asked to “consider it when costing the project”.
READ MORE: APR Bypass could open in just three years
However, the interchange would need to fit within the total budget the government has allocated for the project.
What this means is that Dapto residents will know their fate by July, when the details of the successful tender is announced by the government.
“The interchange has been included as part of the current planning approval and the community will be kept informed when timing for construction has been confirmed,” the RMS spokesman said.
However, the inclusion of the interchange in the planning approval does not guarantee it will be built at the same time as the Albion Park Rail Bypass.
The Mercury understands the RMS preference is for the interchange to be built at a later date.
“Traffic modelling indicates the northern (Yallah) interchange is not required until there is a substantial increase in traffic,” the RMS spokesman said.