SARTA and road builders blast Yorkeys Crossing move

Cash aimed to improve drainage and unsealed surface branded a ‘Band-Aid’

SARTA and road builders blast Yorkeys Crossing move
Steve Shearer says the route needs fixing properly


South Australian trucking and civil contractor representatives are less than impressed with the resources being devoted to Port Augusta’s Yorkeys Crossing road link.

Both the SA Road Transport Association (SARTA) and the Civil Contractors Federation of SA (CCFSA) have emphasised the need for it to be upgraded fully on economic grounds after $350,000 was announced for it this week.

"Yorkeys Crossing has been a problem for the trucking industry for decades," SARTA executive director Steve Shearer says.

"It’s on a major route and when it’s out, due to floods etc, it is a nightmare.  

"It needs fixing properly as a high priority for rural and remote communities and operators on the Perth and Darwin routes." 

CCFSA CEO Phil Sutherland describes the proposed upgrade as merely a "Band aid" solution.

"It will only address issues associated with a very small section of the road – and then that section of the road is destined to remain unsealed and vulnerable to heavy rains, and subject to road closure.

"Yorkeys Crossing Road, in its current unsealed condition, is acting like a cork in the economic bottle of the north of the state.

"It beggars belief that sealing this road along its full length is not seen as a strategic priority for government.

"Resources companies operating to the north and north west of the state need all of the help they can get to make their projects viable.

"Getting plant and equipment to their project sites and their product to the market using reliable road infrastructure would assist the prosperity of that sector."

He notes increased usage and importance of the bypass will mean greater wear and tear merits more serious attention.

"We have seen a major expansion of the Cultana Military Training Area, with a commensurate increased in the number of military transport vehicles using Yorkeys," Sutherland says.

"It’s just as well our country is not on a war footing.

"Our troops would be starved of the ammunition necessary to train with while Yorkeys Crossing Road dried out if it rained. This can take days.  

"There are many mining company vehicles and military vehicles loaded with explosives and ammunition going through the Port Augusta town when they could use a sealed Yorkeys Crossing deviation road.

"A $60 million upgrade to Yorkeys Crossing Road would create scores of jobs and stimulate a stagnating business community in that region.

"A serious investment in Yorkeys Crossing Road would tick many boxes for both the state and federal governments.  It would provide jobs, business opportunities and generate much needed confidence in the region following the closure of Alinta Energy, and the failure of Arrium steel works."

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