Oallen upgrade announced before MR92 route study completed

A $2.2 million upgrade of the Oallen Ford Bridge over the Shoalhaven River was announced late last month in Nowra by NSW Roads Minister Duncan Gay and Member for the South Coast Mrs Shelley Hancock. However the $200,000 study into the proposed route for Main Road 92 after Nerriga has yet to be completed.

In February Minister Gay and Member for Monaro John Barilaro announced the $200,000 funding commitment for a study in conjunction with five local councils committing $100,000 towards it. Mr Barilaro said there were two main options being investigated. “One option is north-west via Oallen Ford over the Shoalhaven River to Tarago, rejoining the Kings Highway at Bungendore."

“The other, more likely, option that will be looked at is via Mongarlowe River Bridge at Charleyong to the Kings Highway at Braidwood,” he said.

“The study will potentially be managed through a steering committee comprising representatives of Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) and the five councils.”

Mr Gay said the recently completed MR92 Upgrade Nowra to Nerriga provided a sealed link to Nowra for the residents of Nerriga and Sassafras, as well as the many tourists travelling from Canberra to Nowra and Jervis Bay.

The $95 million project was carried out with a combination of funding from state, federal and local governments.

Last month Mrs Hancock said “This is a fantastic announcement…after many years of lobbying by myself, Shoalhaven City Council and former Mayor Paul Green.”

“The NSW Government will allocate a grant of $2.2 million over two years towards the completion of these projects.”

“After requests for funding made by the Shoalhaven City Council in 2011 and 2012 to the Commonwealth Government RDA program were refused – I am pleased the NSW Government understands the importance of this project and has committed required funding” said Mrs Hancock.

Confusingly, the Oallen Ford Crossing is in the Goulburn Mulwaree Local Government Area.

Member for South Coast Shelley Hancock told the South Coast Register “it is hoped the tenders (for the study) would be back by February next year. I don’t envisage the study process taking as long as the one for the proposed third crossing of the Shoalhaven River as there won’t be as much community consultation needed,” she said.

Last week the he final NSW Long Term Transport Master Plan was released by the Minister for Transport, Gladys Berejiklian and Minister for Roads and Ports, Duncan Gay.

The Master Plan sets a clear direction for transport in NSW for the next 20 years, bringing together all modes of transport, across all regions of the state into a world class, integrated network that puts the customer first.

Although the report contained a section titled Bridges for the Bush and gave emphasis to freight routes, there was no mention of the Oallen Ford Bridge.

And as our holiday thoughts turn to the Kings Highway, Steve Whan MLC said “The King's Highway doesn't rate a commitment in the O'Farrell Government's final long term transport master plan. The plan for our region has no commitment of any funding. This year's funding for the Kings Highway (highway B52) was the lowest in a decade. The headline figure was $5 million but $3.6 million of that had already been commited by the Labor Government for stage 2 of noise walls on Canberra Avenue in Queanbeyan. So the allocation for the rest of the highway is just $1.4 million.

In the last six years of Labor well over $10 million per year was spent improving the road outside Queanbeyan.”

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