9 November 2022

Moruya Bypass decision expected within six months following community feedback

| Katrina Condie
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A corridor for the Moruya Bypass is expected within six months. Photo: Transport for NSW.

A route for the proposed Moruya Bypass could be announced in as little as six months.

Following a lengthy consultation process, Transport for NSW will undertake a robust assessment of three possible bypass corridors taking into consideration community feedback as well as safety and environmental, resilience, liveability and connectivity considerations.

The community of Moruya and surrounds has had its say on the three shortlisted corridors for the bypass, with a report summarising the feedback of the 1300 community submissions revealing the ‘Purple Corridor’ close to town as the favoured option.

The survey found that access to the hospital, minimal impacts to flora and fauna and property, and cost-effectiveness are what are most important to the community.

Transport for NSW will conduct further design work for all three shortlisted corridors – orange, yellow and purple – to better understand the opportunities and challenges that each one presents.

Over the past two years the community has highlighted the need for the bypass to ensure access to the new regional hospital as well as minimising the impact on private property and flora and fauna. The community is also seeking a cost-effective option that delivers the best outcomes for the town.

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Following community opposition to the announcement of the preferred Orange Corridor in 2021, Transport for NSW has undertaken additional investigations and designs along the route and has gained a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities it offers.

The report found the Purple Corridor as the favoured option due mainly to its access to the hospital, less impact on the environment and private properties and lower cost.

Comments about the Yellow Corridor were that it would have the greatest area of vegetation impact, while those opposed to the Orange Corridor suggested it would be destructive to significant vegetation around the Malabar Lagoon.

Member for Bega Dr Michael Holland met with Shadow Minister for Regional Roads and Transport Jenny Aitchison and members of the Moruya Bypass Action Group last week to hear their response to the report.

“It is interesting that from more than 4600 comments from the community, the purple route is preferred to the previously preferred orange route proposed by Transport for NSW,” Dr Holland said.

“The decision will be based on factors including environmental, socioeconomic and design factors and ultimately cost.

Three options for the Moruya Bypass as outlined in the consultation summary. Photo: Transport for NSW.

“I believe that Moruya needs a bypass to reduce travel times and congestion, increasing traffic safety for cars, trucks and active transport, efficiency of freight movement and the improvement to liveability in the Moruya town centre.

“This is a major project which will only ever be done once and it needs to be the right decision.”

As part of its 2021 assessment Transport for NSW identified the potential for the Purple Corridor to dominate the landscape through key parts of Moruya town centre, including having a bridge through Riverside Park. A bridge structure on the north floodplain close to the existing Princes Highway has the potential to restrict the view of the Mullenderree Flats.

It was noted the Yellow Corridor would provide a great view of Moruya as people travel from the north, however concerns were raised regarding the impact both the Orange and Yellow Corridors would have on businesses and the local economy if passing traffic no longer visits.

Concerns have been raised about how the bypass would be designed to cope with regular flooding in the area in the longer term and how construction would be managed to ensure flooding didn’t impact the project’s construction timeline. Suggestions for a tunnel have been dismissed.

Graph showing feedback

Sentiment of 2022 survey participants towards each of the three corridors. Photo: Transport for NSW.

In response to community feedback obtained, Transport for NSW will now start additional design and refinements of all three corridors to address the comments and concerns raised by the community from the two rounds of engagement.

Preparing a detailed strategic design option for all three corridors will enable Transport for NSW to better understand the opportunities and challenges that all three corridors present and allow a robust assessment of the options to be undertaken.

Improving the level of design and subsequent assessment of corridors will take about six months, with the outcome expected to be a refined preferred route.

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A bypass of Moruya would unlock opportunities to improve the town centre for the benefit of locals, visitors and businesses and complement the appealing, tourist-friendly experience of the town.

The bypass route is aimed at reducing traffic congestion, while enhancing the amenity and liveability of the town centre, providing the opportunity for improvements to streetscapes, town entrances and community facilities.

Transport for NSW will work with the Aboriginal community to identify opportunities to incorporate Aboriginal culture and language into the urban design of the project.

Urban designers, Eurobodalla Shire Council and community groups will also develop opportunities to reference the history of the region and the critical role played by Moruya for the supply of granite for the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Additional design work and consultation will be done on the Purple and Yellow Corridors and refinements to the Orange Corridor before proceeding to a concept design and environmental approvals of one of the three corridors.

Undertaking further investigations and design is expected to delay delivery of the project.

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Thank god the community was consulted, and, lets hope they get heard. In this day and age why would you destroy so much untouched and natural bush for a road? Haven’t Transport for NSW heard of the environmental crisis facing the world? Global warming and species extinction for example. How many plants and animals would be lost by going with the longest and most remote route. Its fine to bypass Moruya, but why would you go so far away and take the longest route and appears to be most expensive.

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