Funds with which to seal Nerriga Road are undoubtedly a boon for Braidwood. A sealed road will improve travel safety, speed up travel times and lead to less wear and tear on residents’ cars. Asphalt will also make Nerriga Road a more appealing route for those travelling from Canberra to the coast.
Faster travel times and improved road quality will mean the portion of Braidwood’s visitors who are travelling to areas between Nowra and Ulladulla will probably largely take Nerriga Road instead of embarking on the treacherous Clyde.
In this way, sealing Nerriga Road is a bypass in a tea cup.
The situation could go one of two ways. Ideally, improved roads would mean improved accessibility, and therefore overall increased visitor numbers to Braidwood, and the surrounding region.
This would certainly be true for the area between Braidwood and Nerriga, and it would be exciting to see tourism-based business grow in that area. As Nerriga Road branches off the Kings Highway before Braidwood itself, however, it could lead to a drop in tourist numbers to Braidwood itself.
If the default is to drive on, people might not stop, and Braidwood businesses that rely on the tourist dollar might lose a portion of their trade. It wouldn’t be a large loss. Any slice of Braidwood’s tourism lost to Nerriga Road would be a small portion of the larger whole.
It does provide an opportunity, however, to gauge the effects of a bypass on a smaller scale; for businesses to prepare for what seems inevitable, and for the town to prepare to effectively market itself as a worthy detour.