Member for Kiama Gareth Ward has today officially opened the Foxground bypass, in one of the most significant milestones of the $580 million Foxground and Berry bypass project.

Mr Ward said the opening means almost half the 12.5 kilometre bypass between Toolijooa Road and Andersons Lane has now been opened to motorists, improving safety and journey times.

“Today, I officially opened five kilometres of new highway between Toolijooa Road and Austral Park Road in what is a terrific achievement for this great project,” he said.

“One of the reasons I stood for Parliament was to fix the Princes Highway.

“Today’s opening of the Foxground bypass turns one of the worst sections of the Princes Highway into one of the best!

“People said to me in the run up to the last election “it will never happen”. You sent me to Parliament to get results and turn words into action. Today, we take another great step forward in delivering infrastructure that makes a real difference in people’s lives.

“We announced before Christmas last year this section would be complete and opened in time for Easter and here we are today living up to that promise, despite the recent bad weather.

“The old section of the Princes Highway includes the Foxground bends, which could not be upgraded to meet today’s design, safety and traffic efficiency standards.

“These bends have now been bypassed which results in safer and more efficient journeys for all road users and addresses the high crash history and poor road safety record of this section of the Princes Highway.

“In the five years to 30th June 2016, there were 34 crashes between Toolijooa Road and Austral Park Road, a majority being rear-end crashes,” he said.

Mr Ward said the five kilometre Foxground bypass has four lanes with the addition of climbing lanes for heavy vehicles through the new 900 metre long and 25 metre deep cutting at Toolijooa ridge, for around 1.5 kilometres.

“As part of the bypass Toolijooa Road was realigned and links to the existing highway via an underpass,” he said.

“A new bus stop and turning bay has also been built on Toolijooa Road.

“Motorists can now travel across the three Broughton Creek bridge crossings, the first 95 metres long and eight metres high, the second, 80 metres long and five metres high and the third, 175 metres long and 11 metres high.

“The other is the Berry bypass which the Premier announced earlier this year will be open to motorists before Christmas 2017.

“Once the project is complete, it is expected road safety will improve with the reduction of crashes by up to 64 per cent and improve motorists travel times by about seven minutes,” Mr Ward concluded.