Replacing the damaged Otford causeway - which could see residents trapped by bushfire - is being sped up by Wollongong City Council.
The Otford Road causeway was destroyed by floodwaters in February, rendering the most direct link between the suburb and Helensburgh impassable.
Residents have expressed a need to see the causeway repaired quickly, because it provided an escape route in the event of a bushfire.
To speed up the process, council has decided not to call for companies to tender for the work but allow general manager Greg Doyle to negotiate an agreement directly.
Council papers state the direct approach would take around six weeks - roughly half of the time a call for tenders would take.
The papers also noted the risk of bushfire was one of the reasons to take this approach.
"This is due to extenuating circumstances, being the risk to the community due to fire and/or flood causing further inability of residents to escape, the pending Statutory Bushfire Danger Period commencing October 1, 2023, and the MS to the Gong Bike Ride event planned for November 5, 2023," council papers stated.
"The program to achieve all design, engagement and construction works prior to or as close to the Statutory Bushfire Danger Period is extremely tight and requires minimal delay in all aspects of the planning, design, approval, procurement, and construction process."
Funding for the work has been proposed by Transport for NSW, and council papers stated that was based on a "like for like" replacement - a design for which is now under way.
In 2020, Council had investigated replacing the causeway with a bridge but found it would not be feasible - a bridge would need to span a distance of 90 metres.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.