News, road works

Walker Street improvements at Helensburgh get underway this week

Walker Street Helensburgh

WORK on stage two of the Helensburgh Streetscape Masterplan project gets underway this week.

Wollongong City Council crews will be onsite at Walker Street to prune the lower branches of the Brush Box trees that line the western side of the road. Once the trees are trimmed, work will begin to install the new footpath and other traffic calming infrastructure to create a safer and pleasant environment for pedestrians, cyclists, and vehicles.

Stage one of the Helensburgh Streetscape Masterplan was completed last year, and Stage two will build upon the works already completed to improve safety and accessibility. The Stage two upgrades include:

  • a new pedestrian path along the western side of the street
  • an upgrade of the pedestrian crossing at Coles and footpath upgrades on the eastern side from the crossing at Coles to the Short Street intersection
  • pedestrian and road safety improvements at Short Street
  • flattening of the steep parking lanes in Walker Street
  • construction of a new roundabout and raised pedestrian crossing on the Lilyvale and Walker Street intersection.

Works on the Helensburgh Stage two streetscape Masterplan is expected to finish by June 2022, pending weather conditions.

Transport for NSW manages speed zone changes on road networks and have expressed support for the Helensburgh Town Centre becoming a 30kmh speed zone. These changes to speed zones will be looked at once stage two works are complete.

Wollongong Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery said that the work planned to improve Walker Street will make a big difference to the enjoyment and safety for Helensburgh residents and visitors.

“Last year, we expanded the scope of works for stage two of the masterplan project to include some additional upgrades to areas that we felt also needed attention such as the flattening of the steep parking lanes on Walker Street,” Cr Bradbery said.

“Right now, the parking lanes along Walker Street are too steep and make parking challenging as the road forces residents to park their cars further from the kerb and closer to traffic. Part of the stage two upgrades will look at flattening and improving the road, which will have a big impact on the experience of people visiting the Helensburgh town centre.

“Council has a long-term vision for the Helensburgh town centre, and it’s one that has been guided by our community every step of the way. It’s exciting to get to the next part of the project which involves making important upgrades to our town centre so that we can bring this vision to life.”

There will be intermittent disruptions to parking and detours during the works, but access to Short Street and Walker Lane will be retained at all times. Traffic control will be onsite to support drivers and pedestrians sharing the space and motorists are advised to drive to the conditions.

Concern has been raised over the preservation of the Brush Box trees that line Walker and Parkes streets. Council has a plan to preserve and protect all the trees now and into the future and to achieve this a detailed aboricultural investigations will be undertaken.

As part of the works to install anew footpath, some of the roots of the trees will need to be removed. Council says the amount of roots to be removed has been determined by a qualified arborist, meeting Australian Standards, to ensure minimal impact to the trees.

“Our magnificent Brush Box trees are an important part of the Helensburgh town centre identity, and we know our community values their beauty, shade and character,” Cr Bradbery said.

“The Brush Box trees we know and love today were likely planted in the 1940s-50s and they form part of a memorial to those lost in World War One. It’s important that these memorial trees are protected for our community to remember and honour our past.

“As part of the stage two works, we’ll be pruning the lowest branches of the trees to improve sight lines and allow better sunlight access to the western side of the street.”

For more detailed information visit Helensburgh Streetscape Masterplan project page on the Wollongong Council website.


A memorial to fallen soldiers

Did you know that originally 12 Sugar Gums were planted on Arbor Day in 1934, as a memorial to those lost in WW1? Over time, the original trees died and were replaced in the 1940s and 50s with the Brush Box that we enjoy today.


Stage 3 – Walker Street Western Terrace

Stage three for the Helensburgh Streetscape Masterplan will involve upgrades to the Walker Street Western Terrace with a new accessible ramp and set of stairs next to the crossing at Coles. Stage three works are expected to begin towards the end of 2022.

The Helensburgh Stage 2 Streetscape Upgrade has been funded by the NSW Government under the Restart NSW Fund in association with Wollongong City Council and the Metropolitan Colliery.



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About Mick Roberts

A journalist, writer and historian, Mick Roberts specialises in Australian cultural history, particularly associated with the Australian hotel and liquor industry. Mick has had an interest in revealing the colourful story of Australian pubs and associated industries for over 30 years. He is working on a comprehensive history of the hotel and liquor industry in the Illawarra region of NSW. Besides writing a number of history books, Mick managed several community newspapers. He has been editor of the Wollongong Northern News, The Bulli Times, The Northern Times, The Northern Leader and The Local - all located in the Wollongong region. As a journalist he has worked for Rural Press, Cumberland (News Limited), the Sydney city newspaper, City News, and Torch Publications based in Canterbury Bankstown, NSW.

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