CCFSA alarm on roads in and north of Adelaide
Augusta Highway and South Road funding seen as lacking and uncertain
South Australian road building priorities have fallen foul of the state’s Civil Contractors Federation (CCFSA) again, this time over funding for the South Road upgrade.
The CCFSA has criticised the lack of action on a high-grade bypass of Port Augusta in the past few years.
More recently it called for a $1.2 billion upgrade of National Highway A1, between Port Wakefield and Port Augusta.
It revealed that over the past three years, that section of road has experienced at least 31 traffic accidents resulting in 61 serious casualties including 14 fatalities.
"The road between Port Wakefield and Port Augusta is an absolute death corridor – it’s a disgrace for a national highway, and well below the standard you expect in a first world economy," CCFSA CEO Phil Sutherland says.
"It beggars belief that this section of National Highway A1 – also called the Augusta Highway – remains in such a dilapidated state given its crucial link to the national road system.
"Inexplicably, upgrading and duplicating this sub-standard section of highway – which forms part of a nationally significant freight corridor, and is integral to the National Freight and Supply Chain – does not even appear on Infrastructure Australia’s Priority list.
"The SA government’s 30 year Integrated Transport and Land Use Plan sees the duplication of the highway as a ‘longer term’ measure – tragically, that means more people will lose their lives on that section of the highway."
Now the CCFSA has its sights on funding for "Adelaide’s crucial north-south road freight corridor".
That upgrade is limited to the $2.5 billion in construction works currently being undertaken at the Darlington Interchange, the Torrens to Torrens precinct and the Northern Connector, in Adelaide’s northern suburbs.
Beyond that, it says there is no forward budget committed for the project’s continuation once all current federal and state government funding is exhausted within two years.
CCFSA CEO Phil Sutherland says urgent design work necessary for planning to commence on the yet- to-be-touched sections could not commence as funding for the upgrade up until 2018 had already been assigned.
"We are being told by people involved in the upgrade that there is a very real possibility the sections currently the subject of construction activity – Darlington Interchange, Torrens to Torrens, and Northern Connector – are likely to be the only improvements for many years unless the federal and state governments come to the party as a matter of urgency," Sutherland adds.
"There is a genuine fear that the full South Road upgrade will end up like similar projects overseas, where the money has run out resulting in road infrastructure – including tunnels and freeways – going nowhere, and with fly-overs just dangling in the air.
"The existing pool of money for the upgrade of the crucial north-south corridor will be exhausted by 2018.
"Unless money is urgently earmarked for this crucial piece of road infrastructure, all of the work will come to a standstill and Adelaide will be left with a road that simply shunts congestion up and down the road. That’s not a freeway."
Sutherland argues that road planning and design for complex developments require long lead times and without a Budget commitment from the federal and state governments, this work can’t commence.
"Putting aside the road works associated with the sections currently being upgraded, South Road remains a mess," he says.
"There are a number of sections of South Road that are complete bottlenecks for most of the day. Travel times are appalling."