Work will start on the long-awaited Mt Ousley Interchange this year, including a heavy vehicle overpass and improved access to the University of Wollongong.
Illawarra State and Federal MPs gathered near the busy M1 Princes Motorway on Thursday (18 January) to announce Fulton Hogan as the builder of the $390 million project which will improve the region’s “economic artery”.
The interchange will replace the existing intersection of the Princes Motorway and Mt Ousley Rd, removing the dangerous right-hand turn heading north across three lanes of traffic.
More than 50,000 vehicles travel through on the M1 each day, with heavy vehicles making up about 15 per cent of the total.
The upgrade will include:
- Heavy vehicle only bypass lanes for southbound travel, separating cars and heavy vehicles
- Two new heavy vehicle safety ramps
- A new commuter carpark and separate incident response facility
- Upgrades and widening of the existing pedestrian bridge over the motorway at Northfields Ave
- Two new intersections and bridges over the motorway for improved access between Mount Ousley Rd, Princes Motorway and the University of Wollongong
- Improved pedestrian and cyclist connectivity on existing shared paths and a new shared path along Old Mount Ousley Rd
- 5 m noise walls along the northern side of the motorway and the southern side of Dumfries Ave; and along the southern side of the motorway and northern side of Falder Pl
- A 3.5 m noise wall along the southern side of Mount Ousley Rd, between Gowan Brae Ave and the cul-de-sac at the western end.
The project is jointly funded by the Federal Government ($240 million) and the NSW Government ($150 million).
State Member for Keira Ryan Park admitted that there had been times when he thought the project might not get off the ground.
“But our consistent and persistent efforts on behalf of the community has ensured that both with the former government and now with the Minns Government, that this project in partnership with the Commonwealth becomes a reality,” he said.
“[It’s] a $390 million dollar four-year project and infrastructure investment the likes you haven’t seen along Mt Ousley for many, many years.”
He said it would improve safety and traffic flow on “one of the most significant freight and commuter corridors in the country”.
Federal Member for Cunningham Alison Byrnes said the M1 Motorway was the “economic artery” of the region, with about five million tonnes of freight travelling the road each year.
“We are the biggest car importation port in NSW and this road gets all of our cars off to market out through southwest Sydney, so it is a major piece of infrastructure for our region,” she said.
Transport for NSW and Fulton Hogan – which was also responsible for construction of the Albion Park Rail Bypass – will start early work in coming months, including survey and geotechnical investigations, utility relocation and vegetation clearing.
Major work is expected to start late this year and the project is expected to take about four years to complete, weather permitting.
State Member for Shellharbour Anna Watson welcomed the project’s boost to the Illawarra’s economy.
“This will provide work and training opportunities for more than 450 people in the coming years,” she said.
“Infrastructure brings jobs to our region and that is important for us going forward.”
Mr Park conceded that work on the road would create disruption to residents around Mt Ousley and Keiraville, and to traffic movements, but asked the community to be patient.
“This is going to be a challenging piece of infrastructure to build and part of the design and the next phase will be to have a look at how we try and manage that process,” he said.
“While the priority is to get the work done, we will need to balance that with the need to ensure this critical commuter and freight route remains open, and disruptions are minimised where possible.
“That’s going to require, at times, patience from people and patience from the community.
“A project of this size comes with disruption but the benefit it brings to the community from both a safety perspective and a road efficiency perspective is absolutely incredible.”
For more information about the project, visit Transport for NSW.