A lot of motorists are looking forward to the opening of the Albion Park Rail bypass in 2022.
For most of them, it's the fact the bypass will create an easier trip through Albion Park Rail, avoiding all those traffic lights - not to mention the bottleneck that reliably appears every school holidays.
There's another benefit the bypass will bring that doesn't get spoken of as much.
The bypass will reduce the number of crashes through Albion Park Rail.
The speed limit along that 3.9-kilometre stretch of the Princes Highway, from the Illawarra Highway intersection south to the Durgadin Drive intersection is only 70km/h most of the way, but that doesn't stop it being a crash hotspot.
Data from the Centre for Road Safety records and maps the location of each injury-causing crash in NSW from 2015 to 2019.
In that period, this 3.9-kilometre stretch of road has seen 66 crashes, including one fatality in 2019, and 24 where someone suffered serious injuries.
It's an indication that a road doesn't need to have a high speed limit for serious crashes to occur.
At the southern end of this section sits the Oak Flats interchange.
While drivers can only go around the ring road at relatively low speeds, it doesn't stop accidents from happening.
The interchange has a crash cluster there, with 14 accidents - three of which saw people suffer serious injuries.
Sometimes, tragic accidents can even happen when the speed limit is much lower.
Take the intersection of Central Avenue and Fisher Street at Oak Flats. That's in a built-up section, with a school on one corner.
In both instances, it was a pedestrian who was killed and, despite the speed limit being just 40km/h, one resident who lived and worked in the area referred to the location as "a scary little place".
In terms of lives lost, that intersection is worse than the downhill section of Mt Ousley Road from Picton Road to the University of Wollongong.
Despite a much higher volume of traffic - including heavy vehicles - using that downhill run every day, there has just been one fatality between 2015 and 2019.
However this section of Mt Ousley is one of the worst in the Illawarra for crashes - though not as bad as the highway through Albion Park Rail - with 57 accidents.
Pat Armstrong is a truck driver with Toll and a Transport Workers Union delegate who regularly drives down Mt Ousley, and he claims "this descent is one of the most challenging in Australia".
Part of the problem is the differing speed limits - 40km/h for heavy vehicles and 80km/h for everyone else - and the fact three lanes change to just two near the New Mt Pleasant Road overpass.
There's also the southbound traffic merging from Picton Road, which has to cut across the heavy vehicle lane at the top of the hill.
"You've got the 80km/h cars not letting the 40km/h trucks merge into that lane - that's always been a bit of an issue," Armstrong says.
But there's also the reality that it is such an extreme downhill run that's not replicated in many other places.
"It's driver education too," he says. "A lot of the drivers haven't really come down Mount Ousley - they might get a trip down here every now and then.
"How many young blokes drive around Sydney and all of a sudden you've got to come down Mount Ousley? It's a totally different road to what they're used to, especially with the merge with the traffic."
One road that gets a lot of attention when it comes to crashes is Picton Road. While it is much longer than the Mt Ousley descent, there have been fewer crashes.
Between 2015 and 2019, there have been 39 accidents. But the problem is the higher number of fatalities - five across that period.
The section of Picton Road between the M1 Princes Motorway and the Hume Motorway travels through two local government areas - Wollongong and Wollondilly.
All five of those fatalities have occurred in the Wollondilly end of the road, with two occurring near the Macarthur Drive intersection.
The worst was in 2017 when two truck drivers died in a fiery head-on crash.
Over the last decade Picton Road has undergone extensive safety upgrades, the bulk of which have occurred in the Wollongong LGA stretch.
The absence of fatalities in this area would suggest the upgrades have done much to stop deaths on this stretch.
Mr Armstrong says the condition of Picton Road itself really isn't that different from most of the other roads he drives on, and the accidents are more a matter of driver awareness.
"All the roads are the same - you've just got to watch what you do," he says.
"It's all road users you've got to watch out for. Picton Road, I reckon impatience is the main thing - people get frustrated sitting behind vehicles and they take risks."
Further south, Gerroa Road-Bolong Road is well-known for crashes.
But it doesn't appear to be the section with a 100km/h speed limit that is the problem. There is a cluster of serious crashes - including two fatalities - in the section immediately afterwards, where the speed limit drops.
This road has long been used by drivers looking to avoid travelling through the bottleneck of Berry, but following the opening of the bypass of that town, Transport for NSW says fewer people are using this road.
That is expected to drop even further once the Berry to Bomaderry section of the Princes Highway upgrade is completed.
The Kiama bends have also been a place where drivers have come to grief, with 15 crashes, 10 resulting in serious injuries.
With its steep downhill section, where trucks have been known to lose control, Bulli Pass has seen 21 crashes between 2015 and 2019 - but no fatalities.
On Memorial Drive in Corrimal earlier this year, Transport for NSW removed the speed cameras, replacing them with red-light speed cameras at the Towradgi Road and Railway Street intersections.
The Centre for Road Safety data shows that change was warranted, with the Towradgi Road intersection and approaches showing a significant crash cluster.
There have been 14 crashes there, six of which involved a serious injury, as well as a fatality in 2015 when a pedestrian was hit by a car.
Across the five council areas, Shoalhaven has recorded the most fatalities, with 47 between 2015 and 2019.
That high number is likely due to its size, at 4500 square kilometres.
But even though Wollongong is six times smaller, it still has the second highest number of fatalities, with 30.
Wollondilly is next with 25, followed by Shellharbour with eight and Kiama with five.
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