The New South Wales Government has awarded the contract for the design and environmental assessment required to develop a new interchange at the base of Mount Ousley, northwest of Wollongong.

Engineering company Jacobs were awarded the contract and the concept and design is expected to be available to view by mid-2017.

Parliamentary Secretary for the Illawarra and South Coast, Gareth Ward, said in the past two years the New South Wales Government has allocated $1 million towards the project with a further $1 million allocated in 2016-17 to continue planning.

“Earlier this year feedback was invited on the preferred option for the proposal which would improve safety and efficiency on the M1 Princes Motorway at the base of Mount Ousley,” Mr Ward said.

“All feedback received will be considered in finalising the concept design for this important project.

“This project will see the existing intersection at the base of Mount Ousley Road replaced with a new interchange which includes an additional access point to the University of Wollongong.”

Mr Ward said the project aims to improve safety, freight efficiency, reduce traffic congestion and provide improved pedestrian and cyclist facilities.

“The preferred option includes a northbound overpass from Mount Ousley Road onto the M1 and separated truck bypass lanes on the M1,” Mr Ward said.

“Cars and trucks would be separated on the M1 at the bottom of Mount Ousley, allowing traffic to exit the motorway without having to merge across slower moving traffic.

“The existing commuter car park would also be relocated as part of the proposal.

“The preferred option would improve access to the Wollongong CBD and surrounding suburbs while also catering for future traffic growth in the region.”

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