Community feedback has played a large role in the Appin Road upgrades, which are set to commence later this year with Transport for NSW giving them the green light.
Fully funded by Lendlease, the $170 million works package is being delivered by the developer as part of a Voluntary Planning Agreement with the Department of Planning and Environment as part of their conditions of approval for the Figtree Hill development.
The aim is to improve the safety and quality of this vital piece of road infrastructure, a key arterial connecting south-western Sydney with the Illawarra, that has gone down in NRMA history as one of the State’s most treacherous roads for both humans and wildlife.
As part of the first phase of works, Appin Road will be widened between Noorumba Reserve and Gilead from two lanes to a four-lane dual carriage way, and a new intersection from Appin Road into the Figtree Hill development constructed.
Member for Campbelltown Greg Warren said that community consultation has been critical in ensuring that the needs of the Appin community are met by this upgrade.
“The proposed measures to improve koala safety are fantastic moves towards preserving our very special species,” Mr Warren said.
Koala fencing will be installed on both sides of Appin Road, between Noorumba Reserve and Beulah, to prevent koalas from crossing through traffic.
Two fauna underpasses, designed as box culverts, will be constructed under Appin Road at Glen Lorne/Noorumba Reserve and Beulah/Browns Bush.
The Glen Lorne underpass will be delivered under the widened four-lane road.
The Browns Bush underpass will be constructed under the existing two-lane road, acting as an interim safety measure while approvals progress for a permanent underpass at Beulah, to be delivered as part of a second package of road upgrades.
In response to community feedback during the consultation period, this project will see box culvert koala underpasses being built which are larger than originally proposed, designed in consultation with koala experts with experience locally and throughout the east coast.
A spokesperson for Transport for NSW said that it has taken time to get this right, but there is confidence these designs will significantly reduce koala vehicle strikes at this location and improve the function of this important koala habitat corridor.
“Determining an underpass design that koalas are likely to use combined with a fencing strategy to stop koalas crossing Appin Road has been a complex undertaking – right down to the shape of the culverts themselves, the design of the fencing, and support structures like koala escape structures and refuge poles,” the spokesperson said.
Brendan O’Brien, Head of NSW Communities, Lendlease, said that while the community has been calling for koala underpasses and safety upgrades to Appin Road for years, today’s announcement allows Lendlease to finally deliver the urgently needed road upgrades and infrastructure to improve safety for motorists and koalas.
“Our investment into upgrading this vital infrastructure for the local community will also help new homebuyers get started on building their new home at Figtree Hill, which is located 10 minutes from Campbelltown and is meeting pent-up demand for housing in this area,” Mr O’Brien said.
The works are scheduled to commence later this year, and, weather permitting, will take approximately 18 months to complete.