The Illawarra Business Chamber has today marked one year since the release of its road connectivity study, commissioned jointly with the NRMA, by calling for federal funding for the complete upgrade of Picton Road to motorway standard.
Labor’s welcome commitment to fund the upgrade of Appin Road has highlighted the federal government’s role in funding key economic thoroughfares, which many argue should occur as part of an 80/20 funding split between the Commonwealth and State governments.
While the upgrade of Appin Road has merit in terms of passenger safety, according to IBC Executive Director Adam Zarth, nearby Picton Road is the number one economic corridor for the Illawarra and Southern Highlands regions, with 20,000 vehicle movements per day, of which 25 percent are heavy vehicles.
Of most concern is the finding in the 2018 study that Picton Road will reach daily capacity by 2025. Conversely, daily traffic volumes on Appin Road are about half of those along Picton Road and have not increased over the past five years. And while other major road projects have received state government funding such as the Mt Ousley Interchange and Widening project and the F6 Extension, Picton Road has not, which presents an opportunity for both major parties of government to step in ahead of the forthcoming election.
Overall, research commissioned by Illawarra First has established that there is a lack of investment in the Illawarra’s transport network, with a series of constraints on the corridor between the Illawarra and Greater Sydney expected to cost the economy $640 million p.a. by 2031.
“Picton Road has been neglected by both levels of government for far too long, but research we commissioned one year ago today showed that as the number one road corridor for our region, it will reach daily capacity in 2025, which is now a looming deadline,” said Mr Zarth.
“Infrastructure Australia agrees, and highlighted safety and capacity upgrades to Picton Road in February report of national infrastructure priorities, alongside the F6 Extension and corridor preservation for the M9 Orbital.”
“The full duplication of Picton Road would deliver $42 million in economic benefits in 2031, comprising savings in travel time, vehicle operating costs and crash reductions.”
“We are calling on all candidates for federal election to commit to funding the upgrade of Picton Road. And whoever is in government after the May 18 election needs to commit to jointly funding this project with the NSW Government.”
Elsewhere in the region, the Princes Highway has so far received the attention of both sides of government, who have committed to join the state government in providing safety upgrades through to the Victorian Border.
Media Contact: James Newton (0417 135 858)