Building up Dapto and West Dapto

There is one issue that is constantly raised with Anna in the Dapto and West Dapto areas – improving traffic access and congestion.

West Dapto is continuing its growth spurt, developing into a major metropolitan suburb. The Dapto CBD is modernising – the eastern side of Dapto separated by the F6 Freeway is now mainly an established suburb. Very shortly a series of villages will be developed toward the very western edge of Horsley and across Kembla Grange. Calderwood is also developing.

Over the next 20 years as growth in the area continues, the Dapto and West Dapto areas will contain a population catchment that estimates suggest will be up to 50,000 – enough for an electorate on its own.

The influx of new housing and businesses will place even more pressure on Dapto CBD and West Dapto’s existing local road network. Anna has been calling for funding investment to improve this road infrastructure.

Dapto - Dapto surges as roads lag behind, MP - IM 130601

The former NSW Labor Government provided Wollongong City Council with a $26.1 million interest-free loan in January 2010 under the NSW Local Infrastructure Fund. The former federal Labor Government also provided an additional $14 million in Commonwealth funds.

This infrastructure funding has been used by Wollongong City Council to upgrade existing local roads and to build new road links across the West Dapto area. The 2014 completion of the Cleveland Road upgrade, including the opening of the Cleveland Road Bridge, and continuing road improvements at Shone Avenue, West Dapto, are examples of this.

The overall objective of these improvements is to ‘flood proof’ traffic access to West Dapto in the event of substantial and sustained rain events. It will also provide a road network of choice for local residents to use instead of concentrating all traffic movement on the one trunk of Bong Bong Road.

But more needs to be done. The NSW Government needs to get serious about road infrastructure in the Dapto / West Dapto area.

Anna has called on the NSW government to relieve traffic pressure in the Dapto CBD by adding on-and-off ramps and interchanges along the F6 Freeway at Kanahooka Road, Fowlers Road and Emerson Road as a matter of priority. Her advocacy has secured $50,000 from the Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) to conduct a study into this. She has also called for more effective noise control amelioration for households along the F6.

The recent funding success of the Fowler’s Road extension project at Dapto as part of the $100 million Illawarra Infrastructure Fund is welcome and will build on the previous road funding infrastructure. However, the region could have benefited from more infrastructure funding to go around, had the NSW Government provided the Illawarra with better funding from the Port of Port Kembla lease proceeds.

As a result, an application for the Home of Football complex to be built at West Dapto under the same Illawarra Infrastructure Fund was rejected. The loss of this funding opportunity has been another disappointment for the region – a large and growing sporting community in the area that has now been left high and dry by both Liberal Governments.

However, even the successful Fowler’s Road extension project, which was announced over a year ago following the announcement of the sale of the Port of Port Kembla two years ago, is yet to see any of its funding released, to get the project to get underway. In late 2014, it was revealed the start of this long-awaited Fowlers Road Bridge was still at least two years away. The $50,000 study into the need for additional on-off ramps for Dapto along the M1 Motorway is also yet to commence more than six months after it was announced.

“In four years the State Liberal Government has not lifted a finger to help ease traffic congestion across Dapto and West Dapto. It is simply not good enough,” Anna Watson said.

Anna will continue to fight for the infrastructure funding and support that this booming area of Dapto and West Dapto needs.