19 February 2024

Northern Illawarra residents want a little less conversation, a little more action on traffic congestion

| Zoe Cartwright
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Will Bulli and Thirroul residents have to wait for a bypass to ease traffic congestion? Photo: Transport for NSW.

Northern Illawarra residents want less talk and more action on traffic congestion.

Four years after the Bulli community was consulted about ways to improve traffic flow through the suburb, just one of the seven proposals put the community has been implemented.

Three proposals put to the community at the 2020 consultation were to extend clearway hours, implement parking changes, banning a right turn onto Station Street, install a right-turn signal on Park Road, upgrade the Memorial Drive roundabout, and install a right-turn lane at Grevillea Park Road and at Point Street.

A Transport for NSW spokesperson said since then, the Memorial Drive roundabout had been completed in early 2023, but work would not begin on many of the remaining proposals until later this year.

Others have been deferred indefinitely while the $20 million Bulli bypass consultation is undertaken.

READ ALSO Could Bulli finally get a bypass? The NSW Government says ‘maybe’

“Transport for NSW will provide more detail on timing and traffic impacts associated with the work on Bulli town centre improvements as details are available,” the spokesperson said.

“Transport has multiple traffic improvements set to start this year in Bulli, along the Princes Highway, Station and Railway streets and Park Road.

“Upgrades in Bulli will include new parking spaces and carpark upgrades on Railway and Station streets, removing right turns in and out of Station Street and introducing a dedicated right-turn arrow at Park Road.

“Transport for NSW have listened to the community’s concerns about the extension of clearways on the Princes Highway and have put these changes on hold while the remaining town centre improvements are progressed.”

The intersection upgrades at Grevillea Park Road and Point Street are now being planned “in conjunction with investigations for a bypass of Bulli by extending Memorial Drive further north”.

Where that extension would end has not been decided, and funds for construction of the Bulli bypass have not been allocated.

Thirroul Village Committee president Ray Smith said a bypass would make an enormous difference to congestion across all the northern Illawarra suburbs.

Given the challenges involved in building a bypass, however, he is unsure why the government hasn’t yet implemented the original measures suggested to the community.

READ ALSO He had $28 in his pocket and a lot of grit, now Jin Kim is opening up shop in Thirroul

“We know a bypass would have a positive effect, what we’re not sure of is how they could build the bypass, and I think the money would be better spent looking at how we overcome the geographical issues,” he said.

“It’s a beautiful village and it would be a shame to see a major road straight through the centre, but people who need to get to the M1 at the moment have to drive through Bulli.

“The roundabout works have been handy, but there are a lot of other little bits and pieces that could be fixed without too much impact to residents and the commercial area.”

Northern Illawarra Residents Action Group secretary Ross Dearden said he appreciated a cautious approach given the complexity of the work, but didn’t believe additional community surveys were likely to be helpful.

“I don’t want to be critical but it does seem a bit strange going to public consultation when the issues are well known,” he said.

“I’m not sure what more the public can contribute to that. We need solutions and alternatives from the experts.”

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