UPDATED 27 February: Transport for NSW has extended the closing date for community feedback to 5pm, Thursday 14 March.
Plans for the first stage of a 30-km upgrade of Picton Road from the Hume Motorway to the M1 at Mt Ousley are open for public feedback.
The first stage is the western section of the upgrade, between the Nepean River and Almond Street Wilton, including the busy and often congested M31 Hume Motorway interchange.
The NSW Government has committed $44 million and the Federal Government $80.7 million to the planning of the upgrades. Timing and funding for construction are yet to be confirmed.
Transport for NSW has placed on exhibition the Review of Environmental Factors (REF) and the community is invited to provide feedback on the plans by 29 February.
The Illawarra’s state and federal MPs are encouraging feedback, saying it will help to shape and refine the final design for the proposed project.
Keira MP Ryan Park said it was a significant milestone for the upgrade project.
“Picton Road is a vital road for many people who live in the Illawarra and I encourage all residents with views to share their thoughts,” he said.
Cunningham MP Alison Byrnes urged people to provide feedback to help ensure the proposed work met the needs of the community.
The western section upgrade includes a new “diverging diamond” layout for the Picton Road and Hume Highway interchange, widening and upgrading of about 5 km of Picton Road between the Nepean River and Almond Street in Wilton and new and upgraded shared paths on Picton Road.
About 10 ha of land will need to be acquired, impacting 23 private properties.
The REF said the diverging diamond interchange would provide the most improvement in safety, traffic flow and overall efficiency while minimising potential environmental and construction impacts, and delivering better community outcomes.
It would provide additional lanes for traffic to cross the interchange under traffic signals, allowing for free-flowing turns when exiting and entering Picton Road.
Right turns from Picton Road onto the Hume Motorway would pass through one set of traffic signals. The traffic signals have simplified traffic light phasing which would provide increased green time and improved traffic flow compared to the existing arrangement.
The REF said Picton Road was a key east-west transport corridor linking Port Kembla and the Illawarra Shoalhaven to the rapidly expanding Western Sydney industrial precincts, the Western Sydney Parklands and Aerotropolis, Western Sydney International Airport, and Moorebank Intermodal Terminal.
About 22,000 vehicles use the road daily, with heavy vehicles making up about 23 per cent of the traffic.
“Traffic volumes are forecast to substantially increase over the next 20 years, with traffic demand during peak hours at the interchange with the M31 Hume Motorway projected to increase by 70 to 90 per cent by 2046,” the REF said.
“As traffic volumes increase over time, existing issues associated with the performance of the interchange with the M31 Hume Motorway are expected to cause further traffic delays and queuing on Picton Road and the M31 Hume Motorway, particularly during peak hours.
“In its current state, Picton Road would not be able to adequately service forecast increases in traffic and freight demand.”
The report said road safety was poor in the western section of the proposed upgrade, with 33 crashes recorded from 2018 to 2022, including one death and 11 people seriously injured.
The other two sections in the proposed Picton Road upgrade are the central section from Almond Street, Wilton to about Mount Keira Road, and the eastern section from Mount Keira Road to the M1 Princes Motorway interchange.
After the feedback closes, Transport for NSW will collate and consider the submissions and prepare a submissions report.
The community is invited to meet the Transport for NSW project team and find out more at drop-in information sessions at Wilton.
These will be held at Wilton Plaza, 1 Greenbridge Drive, on Thursday 15 February between 4 and 7 pm, and at Wilton Recreation Reserve, 20 Broughton Street, on Wednesday 21 February between 2 and 5 pm.
For more information on the upgrades, including the REF and photo gallery, or to provide feedback, visit Transport for NSW.