The community of Berry now has a safer and less congested town, with traffic now diverted onto the Berry bypass, six months ahead of schedule.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian, joined Member for South Coast Shelley Hancock and Member for Kiama Gareth Ward today to open the Berry bypass, that will deliver a more efficient road network in the area.
“The early completion of the Berry bypass is perhaps the most significant achievement yet as part of this wonderful project,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“It is obvious what this bypass means to the residents of Berry, with around 3,000 people turning up last month to participate in the community walk across the new bridge.”
The Foxground and Berry bypass project has created around 550 jobs since the start of the project.
“Many businesses have benefited from the number of workers involved in the project, with terrific economic benefits to the local community since work started,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“While the Berry community gets its town back, the entire project will also deliver significant benefits to passing motorists.”
Mrs Hancock said since the first sod was turned on the project in January 2015, the 12.5 kilometre $580 million Princes Highway upgrade has progressed at a rapid rate.
“The Berry bypass takes highway traffic, including heavy vehicles, out of local roads, giving back local streets to the community and improves pedestrian safety,” Mrs Hancock said.
“The bypass has on and off ramps at the north and south of Berry to allow free flowing access for drivers wishing to access Berry.”
A key component of the Berry bypass is the bridge which has a deck length of around 610 metres and is 25 metres wide. It caters for four lanes of traffic, with two lanes in each direction and is separated by a wire rope safety barrier in the median.
Mr Ward said finalisation work in the median, line marking, landscaping and general maintenance will take place after the Berry bypass is open to traffic.
“There are also three metre wide shoulders on both sides of the bridge to improve safety for all road users and the bypass will greatly reduce congestion in Berry during the peak holiday seasons.”
The removal of steep climbs, sharp bends and congestion through Berry and Foxground will save motorists up to seven minutes in travel times.
The number of crashes on the Princes Highway in the upgrade area is expected to be reduced by about 64 per cent as a result of the newly provided divided highway.
Ongoing work to build the new lanes south of Berry will continue and the final road surface will be applied later in the year, with lane closures and reduced speed limits in place when this work is carried out.