The Eden Port Connectivity Upgrade in progress in Eden has prompted community concern, with two school zones included on the route.
One of three key projects raised at an information session last week hosted by Bega Valley Shire Council (BVSC), the project aims to "improve the connectivity of Eden Port to the Princes Highway while addressing and rectifying existing safety issues".
The upgrade includes strengthening of the pavement on Chandos, Calle Calle and Mitchell Streets in order to provide an alternative vehicle route for semi-trailers and buses.
And while the project is, according to council, "in part considered a formalisation of existing informal arrangements", the route passes both the Eden primary and high school. A number of concerns were voiced during last week's forum.
The project team responsible for delivering the project said the servicing of the port by heavy vehicles has been very topical for a number of years, with operator and Port Authority feedback clear that a viable access route for longer vehicles was needed to allow the port to operate effectively.
"Pursuing an effective, efficient and safe solution to this challenge has always been at the forefront of thinking, especially considering the upgrade of Imlay St and the obvious conflict between pedestrians and parking and heavy vehicles," a spokesperson said.
"Further informing the route selection was the fact that heavy vehicles and other equipment used the route during the port construction projects, as Imlay St simply wasn't an option for them and some operators were also utilising it as they went about their everyday business.
"Broader community consultation was undertaken as part of the Transport Futures public exhibition in 2018 and multiple groups and individuals also provided letters of support for Council's funding applications to the Building Better Regions Fund and Fixing Country Roads Program, including the Eden Chamber of Commerce, Sapphire Coast Tourism, NSW Department of Crown Lands, NSW Department of Industry (Land and Forestry), Andrew Constance MP, Eden Slipway Services Pty Ltd, the Canberra Region Joint Organisation, and Regional Development Australia South Coast.
"Transport for NSW were part of the assessment panel for council's grant applications, with their endorsement coming through the success of our applications. Transport for NSW are also represented on the Local Traffic Committee where traffic related matters and projects are discussed.
According to the Transport for NSW website, the Centre for Road Safety is "responsible for developing practical solutions to reduce deaths and serious injuries on NSW roads. The way we develop and target our road safety campaigns, work with the community and design our roads and vehicles can greatly affect the outcome of road crashes in NSW."
BVSC said state and federal funding deeds are in place and the initial stage of the project is set to be completed by the end of this financial year.
Eden Marine High School and Eden Public School have been contacted for comment.