THE closure of Bulli Pass is more to do with cost convenience to the Government and Roads and Maritime Services (RMS), and with little consideration being given to the impact it will have on motorists and residents in the area, says State MP for Keira, Ryan Parks.
Mr Parks has been critical after the RMS advised that the Pass will be closed for two months from early October for essential safety improvement work.
The NSW Government will spend $5 million to install around 1.1 kilometre of rock fall protection fencing from the Princes Motorway to ‘The Elbow’ and safety ramp on the Pass.
The first stage of fencing involves more than 500 metres being installed on high priority areas identified as having an increased risk of rock falls. The fence will run above the road and barriers will be installed in major gullies to collect debris, while further vegetation will be cleared and pruned from the road edge.
This closure would happen again for an additional 2 months in 2017.
Mr Parks has called on the Government to explain why the road cannot be partially closed for morning and afternoon peak times. Mr Park has also expressed his concerned that he was not briefed prior to the announcement and more importantly why the community was not given the option for consultation prior to the announcement.
“To announce a 24/7 Road Closure and then request community feedback it not only arrogant it signifies internal mismanagement issues,” Mr Parkes said.
“Over 10,000 commuters depend on Bulli Pass daily to commute to Sydney and beyond for work. The Government must consider partially opening the road during morning and afternoon peaks
“I am concerned for the people of the northern suburbs who rely on Bulli Pass to get to work, to add an extra half an hour to their drive is a major safety concern when you consider driver fatigue and the increased congestion on Lawrence Hargrave Drive and the M1 Motorway.
“The safety of our community is paramount; RMS must find alternatives that will maximise both safety and road efficiency.”
The road will be closed for 24 hours, seven days a week in both directions from Tuesday October 4 to Monday December 5. The road will reopen in both directions on the weekend of October 29-30 for the arrival in Port Kembla of the Radiance of the Seas Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship and on the weekend of November 5-6 for the MS Sydney to Gong annual bike ride.
Detours will be in place via Lawrence Hargrave Drive and the M1 Princes Motorway, or via Memorial Drive and the M1, increasing journey times by additional 15 to 30 minutes.
Traffic volumes on the M1 Princes Motorway at Mount Ousley will be higher than usual during the closure and motorists are advised to allow extra travel time, travel outside of peak or use public transport where possible. Access for residents will be maintained during the closure.
An additional 500 metres of rock fall protection fencing will be installed during the second stage of work with a road closure expected to take place between late April and June 2017.
Parliamentary Secretary for the Illawarra and South Coast Gareth Ward said the work will greatly improve safety for motorists on the section and has been coordinated with emergency services including New South Wales Police, Fire and Ambulance.
“This is the safest way to carry out the work, for the long term benefit of all road users,” Mr Ward said.
“The closure will also allow investigations to be carried out on other sections of Bulli Pass,” he said.