$145m to upgrade SA roads, truck routes and save tradie jobs under infrastructure plan
Claire Bickers, Federal Bureau Chief, The Advertiser
June 23, 2020 10:30pm
Heavy traffic on the South Eastern Freeway will be eased as part of a $145 million infrastructure cash splash for South Australia to create tradie jobs and rebuild the economy after coronavirus.
A north-south freight route upgrade to get more trucks off the freeway is one of 13 “shovel-ready” and road safety projects in the package Premier Steven Marshall and Prime Minister Scott Morrison will announce on Wednesday.
The package is part of a wider $1.5 billion federal infrastructure funding boost to create jobs, improve road safety and rebuild Australia’s economy after the COVID-19 shutdown.
The work will get under way immediately or within six months.
Mr Morrison said the priority upgrades would “bust congestion, increase productivity, improve safety, and boost jobs at a time we need it most”.
The $12 million upgrade to the North-South freight route between Murray Bridge and Annadale, bypassing Adelaide, will get under way by September and should be completed by December.
“This new freight bypass will help get some trucks off the South Eastern Freeway, easing congestion and making that road safer,” State Transport and Infrastructure Minister Stephan Knoll said.
The most recent jam on the South Eastern Freeway in March took 6½ hours to clear after a chicken truck rolled over, blocking all three lanes on the downtrack from the Crafers turn-off.
A $15 million upgrade to the Heysen Tunnel will also start by January and should be complete by December next year.
That includes new safety features such as a fire sprinkler system and improvements to communications and electrical systems.
“We’re also upgrading the (South Eastern) freeway to deliver speed-activated signage on the steep descent into Adelaide,” Urban Infrastructure Minister Alan Tudge said. A $52 million project will upgrade regional roads over the next 18 months, with footpath treatments, shoulder sealing and safety improvements on parts of the Stuart Highway, Yorke Highway and the Dukes and Riddoch highways.
Safety barriers also will be installed at notorious crash sites across SA in another $10 million project.
Another $6 million will go towards widening in parts Long Valley Rd outside Mount Barker, and sealing shoulders.
Other road safety works will include better lighting at key rural intersections and line markings to alert drivers through sound and vibration when they are veering out of their lane.
Mr Marshall said the State Government had worked closely with the Federal Government to fast-track funding for the projects.
“This significant infrastructure investment is part of our strong plan to create more South Australian jobs and support local businesses,” Mr Marshall said.
The Federal Government will commit $115.6 million while the State Government will contribute $28.9 million.