SOUTH Coast motorists are “not far away” from seeing the long-term benefits of the latest upgrade of the Princes Highway, NSW Premier Mike Baird declared on a visit to Gerringong on Wednesday.
Fulton Hogan, the company building stage one of the Princes Highway upgrade, has also received the nod for stage two.
During an inspection of the work taking place on the $329 million upgrade, the Premier also announced contract details of the next stage.
Stage two is the Foxground and Berry bypass. The $580 million contract has been awarded to Fulton Hogan. The announcement was made in March.
The project will provide a four-lane, divided highway, separated by a median for 11.6 kilometres between Toolijooa Road and Schofields Lane.
The upgrade includes a bypass of the existing winding highway at Foxground and a bypass of Berry with interchanges provided for access both from the north and south of Berry.
“It is not far away before the real long-term benefits are going to be seen, as this project comes to completion,” Mr Baird said of stage one.
“And importantly, there is more to come; which is why today I’m also delighted to announce that the next stage, the Foxground to Berry bypass, the contact has been awarded.”
Member for Kiama Gareth Ward said the Berry to Foxground section will start later this year and be completed by 2018.
He also praised the progress of stage one.
“Actions speak louder than words,” he said.
“As the Premier’s just announced, the contract has been awarded to Fulton Hogan for a $580 million project, the largest ever single investment in the history of the Princes Highway.”
The Premier also said that such works “couldn’t have happened, wouldn’t have been funded” if not for the long-term lease of Port Kembla.
“That’s taking some of those proceeds and putting them into work in this community… It is a government that is getting on with the job, there are benefits to the local community, and obviously continuing jobs are continuing to support the region as well.
“(This is a) big contract, a big opportunity for additional jobs to come into the region, and just as importantly, continue improvement to this critical road.”