Frequently Asked Questions - Albion Park Rail bypass - Princes Highway upgrade


Project overview

Transport for NSW has completed an extension of the M1 Princes Motorway between Yallah and Oak Flats to bypass Albion Park Rail.

Key features and access

How many bridges are there on the project?

As part of the Albion Park Rail bypass, 13 bridges have been constructed. These structures include five waterway crossings, one access crossing, one railway crossing, three road crossings, and three bridges for ramp crossings.

The bridges reduce traffic delays and congestion as well as improve road safety, highway accessibility and freight efficiency and also help to improve the flood immunity of the highway.

The longest bridge on the project is the 210 metre long twin bridge spanning Macquarie Rivulet. The shortest bridge is an access crossing which is around 15 metres long.

How many entry and exit ramps are there on the bypass?

There are 11 total. The project overview map (PDF, 413Kb) highlights these entry and exit points.

  • southbound exit ramp at Yallah
  • northbound entry ramp at Yallah
  • northbound exit to Dapto
  • southbound exit ramp at the Albion Park interchange (Illawarra Highway/ Terry Street)
  • northbound entry ramp at the Albion Park interchange (Illawarra Highway/ Terry Street)
  • southbound entry ramp at Albion Park (Tongarra Road)
  • northbound exit ramp at Albion Park (Tongarra Road)
  • southbound exit ramp at Oak Flats interchange
  • southbound entry ramp at Oak Flats interchange
  • northbound exit ramp at Oak Flats interchange
  • northbound entry ramp at Oak Flats interchange and entry to the East West Link.

Why isn't the Yallah (northern) interchange being built as part of this project?

The Yallah interchange will not be constructed as part of this project and will be subject to future funding and traffic demand. We have carried out traffic modelling which included growth around planned residential developments at Yallah and West Dapto. This indicated the interchange is not required until there is a substantial increase in traffic. The timing for these developments require confirmation from Wollongong City Council and developers.

I live in Dapto/Haywards Bay/Yallah - how will I access the bypass without the Yallah (northern) interchange?

Dapto, Haywards Bay and Yallah residents travelling south will not travel on the bypass but continue on the Princes Highway through Albion Park Rail using the existing Princes Highway.

A southbound entry ramp to the bypass will be located on Tongarra Road. Alternatively, motorists travelling from Dapto, Haywards Bay and Yallah can continue on the Princes Highway and join bypass traffic under the Oak Flats Interchange.

Haywards Bay and Yallah residents travelling north will use the existing Princes Highway, which will merge with bypass traffic north of the Dapto exit ramp.

How will I get in and out of Albion Park from the bypass?

Those travelling south on the bypass can use the exit ramp at the Albion Park interchange (Illawarra Highway/ Terry Street) to get into Albion Park.

To exit Albion Park heading north via the bypass, motorists will use the northbound entry ramp at the Albion Park interchange (Illawarra Highway/ Terry Street).

If travelling north on the bypass, motorists will use the exit ramp at Tongarra Road to get into Albion Park.

Those wishing to leave Albion Park heading southbound on the bypass will use the southbound entry ramp at Tongarra Road.

View or download the project map (PDF, 413Kb).

How will the project affect flooding in Albion Park?

The bypass will improve access for motorists during a flood event. Access will be maintained along the motorway during a one in 100 year flood event.

The bypass will provide an alternative route to the Princes Highway and replace the section of the Illawarra Highway most affected by flooding.

There will be some reductions in flooding for properties in Albion Park Rail. Around 20 properties would become flood free in a 100 year flood event due to the construction of a detention basin for the bypass.

The bypass will not improve flooding in all areas and will not solve all of the flooding problems in the area.

The project will improve accessibility for local residents in Albion Park and will improve reliability of access and reduce the need for road closures as a result of flooding.

How do I get into the business park (and Bunnings) at Albion Park Rail now there is no access to Durgadin Drive from the East West Link?

The business park at Albion Park Rail can be accessed from the Durgadin Drive and Colden Drive intersections at the Princes Highway.

Oak Flats interchange

Why were traffic lights installed at the Oak Flats interchange?

The interchange was originally built in 2001 to enable the Albion Park Rail bypass to be built and operate with only small changes to the interchange. Three bridges were built on the interchange to facilitate the current Princes Highway with the ability to cater for the new bypass.

Traffic will continue to grow in the area over the next 20 years and future traffic modelling identified the roundabout would not cater for this additional traffic in its current form. Roundabouts do not work well with large numbers of vehicles that are not balanced across the different entry and exit points of the roundabout. During the design of the bypass traffic modelling was carried out to investigate the installation of traffic lights on the interchange. The results found that with minor changes to the existing road and related infrastructure and the addition of traffic lights, the interchange would cater for traffic growth up to 2041.

Two hard rock quarries are based on the East West Link. Trucks from the quarries take time to accelerate and have difficulty entering the roundabout, needing to wait for large gaps to be able to accelerate and safely enter. Trucks and other heavy vehicles found it difficult to enter the roundabout under normal give way conditions. With the installation of traffic lights all heavy vehicles can enter without having to wait for a gap and do not have any conflict with other vehicles at the interchange. This will help improve the safety of the interchange for all road users.

How do the traffic lights work?

Just like other traffic lights on the road network, road users need to stop at red lights and wait for a green light to move through the interchange. There will be no more giving way or choosing a gap when using the interchange. Traffic will enter on a green light with no conflicting traffic. The interchange has been designed to allow the majority of traffic to get where they want to go in one green light, generally only stopping for one set of traffic lights.

Cyclists have a dedicated lane and should also follow the direction of the bicycle crossing lights when using the interchange.

What are the benefits of installing traffic lights at the Oak Flats interchange?

Traffic lights reduce the interaction of traffic, improve safety and reduce the potential for conflicts. Road users no longer need to merge with other traffic at the interchange.

Traffic modelling during the planning shows the interchange will be able to cater for future traffic growth including large scale urban development in the region over the next 20 years.

What are the benefits for cyclists?

Cyclists have a dedicated lane and this reduces their interactions with traffic improving safety.

Cyclists must also follow traffic signals when using the interchange.

Are changes being made to the traffic light phasing?

Transport for NSW has been carrying out video and physical monitoring since the traffic lights at Oak Flats interchange were turned on. Changes are continuing to be made to reduce delays. This involves modifying the sequence of traffic light changes to ensure a smoother flow of traffic in the area.

Other projects

What is the Albion Park bypass (Tripoli Way extension project)?

The Albion Park bypass was identified by Shellharbour City Council in 1961, which is a proposed extension of Tripoli Way between Terry Street in the east and Broughton Avenue in the west. This is not part of the Albion Park Rail bypass project.

Council engaged consultants, Cardno, in 2016, to help guide design and define project delivery and scope. In February 2020, Council endorsed community consultation to take place on the preferred alignment.

For more information on the proposed Tripoli Way extension project, visit the Shellharbour City Council website.

How are you planning to improve the section of motorway between Dapto and Figtree?

We are planning for future improvements to the M1 Princes Motorway between Figtree and Dapto.

As part of the planning process, we are modelling current and anticipated future traffic. The project would tie in with other motorway projects and modelling carried out for the Albion Park Rail bypass and the Mount Ousley interchange.

Once the current and anticipated future modelling has been assessed, a range of improvement options will be tested. Options tested aim to:

  • Improve travel time and efficiency for road users
  • Improve freight accessibility into and out of the region
  • Cater for traffic growth as a result of nearby development.

Improvements may include upgrades to on-ramps, off-ramps and construction of additional lanes if necessary.