SA Police in new freeway warning

Concern raised that trucks are avoiding South Eastern Freeway for unsuitable alternative over lower speed limit

SA Police in new freeway warning
Bob Fauser, right, has Old Mt Barker Road worries


The repercussions of the recent South Eastern Freeway crash in Adelaide continue to be felt.

Those who avoid the road by taking alternative routes in a bid to combat new speed restrictions will be targeted, the South Australia Police warn.

Traffic support branch officer-in-charge superintendent Bob Fauser says an increasing number of trucks are using the Old Mt Barker Road to escape new regulations that were introduced this month following a recent Transpacific crash that killed two people and injured one.

The speed limit for all trucks is down to 60kmph between the Stirling interchange and the toll gate.

The speed limit for other cars is also down to 90kmph.

"We have recently received some intelligence that there are trucks that are avoiding the changes to the legislation and avoiding police contact by travelling down the Old Mt Barker Road so we are shifting our tactics to confirm whether in fact this is the case and subjecting those vehicles to the same level of enforcement," Fauser says.

"This causes a great deal of concern if they are in fact using the Old Mt Barker Road because the road is clearly not designed for that purpose; the road design has changed and there would be significant interaction between cyclists and heavy vehicles."

There are renewed calls for a third arrester bed on the freeway following an out-of-control truck that failed to stop on Tuesday when police noticed smoke coming from the vehicle.

The South Australian Road Transport Association (SARTA) executive director Steve Shearer says the near-miss at Glen Osmond Road intersection on Tuesday reinforces the need for the Government to act on the industry’s recommendations for improved safety on the Crafers to Adelaide descent.

The Victorian truck driver ignored the second arrester bed below the tunnels as he believed he would bring the truck under control.

He was travelling at 75kmph and eventually stopped near Wattle Street on Glen Osmond Road, about 1.5 kilometres further down the road.

"The near-miss incident involving a low-loader carrying heavy earthmoving equipment could have been very serious," Shearer says.

"In all probability it was only through the quick actions of the police and the traffic control centre that more fatalities at the Glen Osmond Road, Portrush Road and Cross Road intersection were avoided.

"The action of the police in arranging immediate adjustment to the traffic lights at the intersection with the traffic control centre is clear evidence that government should implement one of our key recommendations – an automated system that detects trucks that appear to be in danger and immediately triggering of an emergency change to the lights at the intersection to clear it of traffic," he adds.

The association has also called for a third arrester bed on the freeway as the first is rarely used due to its location.

"We reject the assertions of the government to date that due to topography and engineering they cannot install a third arrester bed," Shearer says.

"They moved entire hills to build the road.

"The government should consider itself lucky that quick action by the police and traffic control centre combined with the driver’s actions, avoided injury and potential catastrophe yesterday."

Fauser says officers involved had prevented what could have been another disastrous accident.

"The driver is telling us that he thought he had the vehicle under control at that point as he passed the lower arrester bed," he says.

"This was not an issue of not being aware that the arrester bed wasn’t there.

"The primary issue was that a truck was travelling down our freeway which was clearly not properly maintained to be on the roads. This is primarily an issue of companies involved not doing the right thing – they put the driver at risk and they put other road users at risk."

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