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East West Freight Link

A logical and efficient heavy vehicle road freight route

A new Heavy Vehicle Freight Route – to eliminate the requirement for a 15t weight limit, to improve safety and enable an alternative route for heavy vehicles across the Illawarra Escarpment – linking Nowra to the Hume Highway at Goulburn and Nowra to Queanbeyan.


Moving freight efficiently and productively is central to all transport supply chains and this proposed Heavy Vehicle Freight Route achieves this goal.

This project is supported by three councils; Queanbeyan Palerang, Goulburn Mulwaree and Shoalhaven.

The Project

The project is in three stages and forms part of a larger, comprehensive suite of projects that will improve heavy vehicle safety and productivity on the NSW transport network. It will provide a heavy vehicle linkage between the coastal Princes Highway running north/south and inland highway corridors including:

  • Hume Highway (main link between Sydney & Melbourne)
  • Monaro Highway (linking the ACT with Gippsland area in Victoria) Federal & Barton Highways (linking the Hume Hwy at Goulburn & Yass into the ACT) Lachlan Valley Way (linking the Hume Hwy at Yass to Cowra and Central West of NSW) and Kings Highway linking into Queanbeya

A Heavy Vehicle Freight Route that is B Double capable.Three stages of the East West Link development

Stage one: Nowra to Nerriga

Nowra-Nerriga section of Main Road 92 work already undertaken: To date works have been completed in the adjoining Shoalhaven City Council area on MR92 – Nowra to Nerriga for a total of $95m. This upgrade was funded by NSW Government ($49m), Federal Government ($34m) and Shoalhaven City Council ($12m).




Stage 2: Nerriga to Tarago – SHOVEL READY

Business Case has been completed containing a detailed description of the project, the reasons why it was initiated and the outcomes that will be achieved. It has set out how the project is viable, what is the cost- benefit and how it will contribute to economic development and support for industry and the heavy vehicle transport providers. Initial estimates are $130M for the upgrade.



Stage 3: Tarago to Hume Highway at Goulburn and Tarago to Kings Highway Bungendore

Goulburn to Bungendore via Tarago is a 69 km road and is almost fit for purpose. Between Goulburn and Tarago the 38km road meets heavy vehicle standard and is in excellent condition for the proposed use – to make it “fit for purpose” only needs passing lanes. The Tarago to Bungendore corridor is 35km long and 15km of road upgrade needs to be funded. The remaining 5km of road upgrade is already approved. Lengths of this road are already B Double capable. Also proposed is an interchange from Braidwood Road onto the Hume Highway at Goulburn.



Introducing Stage Two – Shovel Ready


Project Rationale and Outcomes

The long-term goal of the project is the establishment of a Heavy Vehicle Freight Route from the NSW mid-South Coast to the inland national road network of the Hume Motorway, Kings Highway and the Federal/Monaro Highway. The section of road from Nerriga to Tarago requires a major upgrade to eliminate the requirement for a 15t weight limit, to improve safety and enable an alternative route for heavy vehicles across the Illawarra Escarpment. This will improve efficiency and save costs which will grow the regional and national economy and provide business with the opportunity to expand.

The bridge upgrade in 2015 over the Shoalhaven River at Oallen Ford by Goulburn Mulwaree Council has paved the way for this project. Three Councils (Queanbeyan Palerang, Goulburn Mulwaree and Shoalhaven) have come together to seek project funding by making applications under both the NSW “Fixing Country Roads” program and the Australian Government’s “Heavy Vehicle Safety Productivity Program”.

Part of the route to be upgraded between the village of Nerriga and the crossing of the Shoalhaven River at Oallen Ford is now currently limited to a 15t weight restriction and this project will eliminate this impediment. Prior to September 2015 the route was limited to 5t with the failing status of the Oallen Ford wooden bridge (1 in 2-year flood level) now replaced by a higher (1 in 20-year flood level) and more capable structure.

Value to Industry

A mix of nationally significant industries are located within the catchment of this project. These industries are across a range of sectors including:
• Agribusiness- Dairy farming (both wet & dry), beef production, growing of hay and silage for intense dairy operations, timber harvesting (both softwood & hardwood)
• Agribusiness manufacturing – abattoirs, wheat starch processing (including sugar extracts), ethanol production, animal feeds & supplements, sawmilling
• Soil enhancement products – composting
• Quarry-mining products – sands, road base materials, kaolin
• Grocery warehousing/distribution
• Building product manufacture/distribution
• Chemical manufacture
• Waste Management Facilities

Several of these industries are more forward in their support for this project as they are incurring quite high additional costs in making use of alternate routes to undertake their current task. One such industry is the Manildra Group which moves around 4,500t/week through Yass from/to Nowra.

The full extent of the livestock, hay/silage, compost is believed to be in excess of this but is undertaken by many smaller but similar farming operation, predominantly dairy and fodder farmers and as such is harder to quantify. The analysis has allowed 40,000t of combined livestock and fodder freight per annum, however at this point in the drought cycle this would be an overstatement.

The following state and regional industries have confirmed that they will transport commodities on this route based on the MR92 crossing of the escarpment on the basis that it provides a safer and more economical route into and out of Goulburn/Yass and Nowra and to regional and national markets:

• Soilco (Nowra) – will use this route instead of the current freight route from Nowra to Yass via Kangaroo Valley – creating a time saving of around 30 minutes despite the additional 30kms.
• Manildra will similarly send B-Doubles from Nowra via this route, rather than north via Mt Ousley Rd/Picton Rd, a saving of 65km and 35min
• Building products into Canberra (concrete blocks and kitchen cupboard componentry), are similarly using diversions via Picton Rd in B-Doubles and will save 20min and 30km.
• Coles/LinFox – this distribution centre out of Goulburn to the South Coast/Monaro/Riverina/ Central West finds the Illawarra escarpment at either Kangaroo Valley or Kings Highway to be inefficient and the link via Tarago/Nerriga will be used many times every day for trucks in both directions.
• Energy producers – such as Wind Farm projects (deemed as State Significant Developments by the NSW Government) require multiple feasible freight transport routes between Port Kembla and their sites in Southern NSW to allow greater flexibility and more efficient transport outcomes.

Additionally, a percentage of tourist coaches that travel between Sydney & Canberra each year will take advantage of the link across to Nowra and up the Princes Highway into Sydney given that the option will be available. The addition to the one-way trip is 67km and 60 min but provides variety to the trip and creates a frequently requested round trip or loop incorporating scenic land and seascapes.

These companies say “this is the right project- at the right time”, “ saying it will be “transformational to the region’s businesses allowing them to interact more directly and cheaply with Port Kembla and its expanding merchant shipping operations” and creating a safer, more direct freight route for their raw materials and products to further grow their businesses.”

Business Case Documentation

  • Heavy Vehicle Freight Route – Nerriga to Tarago Project Management Plan –explains how the project will be implemented. It includes information on the resources that will be employed, the proposed timeline, a cost estimate and detail of the financial management, the communication strategy, approvals, monitoring of compliance and audit and performance reporting. It also outlines how the quality of the work will be managed and monitored during construction, as well as the personnel that will be responsible for quality management.
  • Heavy Vehicle Freight Route – Nerriga to Tarago Procurement Management Plan – details the procurement policies that will guide the procurement activities. It also includes detail of the tender evaluation process and how compliance with the contractual requirements will be managed.
  • Heavy Vehicle Freight Route – Nerriga to Tarago Risk Management Plan – outlines how risks have been identified, assessed and what appropriate mitigation or management strategies will be put in place. It contains a Risk Register.


Potential Partnerships Government

  • TfNSW
  • TfNSW
  • Infrastructure NSW
  • Infrastructure Australia

Potential Partnership Industries

The industries to benefit from a Drouin bypass include:

  • Agriculture including beef, lamb, horticulture, Rice, Cotton
  • Forestry
  • Mining
  • Manufacturing
  • Construction

Transport/General Freight













Key Attributes

Saving Time and Accessing Inland Freight Corridors

  • The agriculture sector and the complimentary processing capabilities of the Manildra Group support the development of the East West Link.
  • The logistical needs of two specific groups provide the base quantum of freight that will take advantage of the route. These specifically are the needs of the Manildra Group based at Bomaderry to move manufactured food, food ingredients and stockfeed to the west and into manufacturing plants in Victoria, a task of in excess of 150,000t annually. The other task relates to the movement of livestock, silage and hay between the dairy farms on the Shoalhaven River plain and the “dry” grazing areas in the NSW Tablelands and Riverina. This task requires the movement of in excess of 400,000 tonnes across the Illawarra escarpment annually with an additional 200,000t being created as a result of the HML link being established.
  • The agriculture and livestock industry and the fragmented transport sector associated with it will now have an efficient and productive alternative

Safer Roads and a More Efficient Supply Chain

  • Getting heavy traffic off the other public/tourism/community routes that are predominately for those travelling to their coastal holiday homes or for holidays and light freight
  • This proposed route has minimal effect on existing towns and residential areas
  • Cost of freight is reduced dramatically because of less time and distanced travelled
  • Will reduce accident numbers because of less mix of community and heavy traffic

Impacts on Freight and Economic Productivity

We forecast a 15% reduction of truck movements on the Mt Ousley Road once this alternative route is available. Reducing road freight movements on busy highways utilised by passenger traffic improves overall road safety.

MR 261 – Moss Vale Rd, Sheepwash Rd etc

  • Maintain Crash Rate: 221.9 crashes per year per million vehicle kilometres Reduce traffic volume by 700, i.e. approx. 2,800 vehicle/day @ Fitzroy Falls
  • Projected 134 crashes in 5-year period based on above crash rate & reduction in vehicle volumes (i.e. a decrease of 33 crashes)

MR92 – Braidwood Rd, Oallen Ford Rd etc.

  • Maintain Crash Rate: 202.0 crashes per year per million vehicle kilometres
  • Increase traffic volume by 700, i.e. approx. 1,600 veh/day @ Endrick River
  • Projected 249 crashes in 5-year period based on above crash rate & increase in vehicle volumes (i.e. an increase of 109 crashes).

Given that the upgraded section is approx. 55km in the length and a projected increase in traffic volume of 700 vehicle/day, the projection of the number of additional crashes would be 12 based on a crash rate of 202.0. This represents an overall reduction of 21 crashes per year net (12-33) to the network.

Letters of Endorsement

  • Mayor of Goulburn Mulwaree City Council
  • Mayor of Queanbeyan Palerang Council
  • Deputy Mayor of Shoalhaven Council
  • Chair of SEATS
  • Canberra Joint Organisation
  • Illawarra Business Council

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