Civil contractors revisit Yorkeys Crossing upgrade issue


Three-year hiatus in efforts to get state backing for Port Augusta project

Civil contractors revisit Yorkeys Crossing upgrade issue
Phil Sutherland says the project is a ‘no brainer’.

 

The Civil Contractors Federation of SA (CCFSA) has returned to championing the Yorkeys Crossing upgrade three years and two weeks after the South Australian government slapped it down.

The CCFSA wants funding for the $60 million project fast-tracked as a freight infrastructure improvement, an aid to tourism and a source of employment in one of the state’s struggling northern regions.

Yorkeys Crossing is a 27km dirt ring route around Port Augusta that all oversized vehicles must use as the town’s main bridge cannot bear such vehicles

The ring route is inaccessible after heavy rain forcing hundreds of heavy vehicles a year to be delayed – sometimes for days at a time – before the road is re-opened, the CCFSA notes.

The state government previously insisted that a review had shown the level of demand could not support such spending.

"The case for significant public investment in transport infrastructure in and around Port Augusta is compelling," CCFSA CEO PhilSutherland says.

"Economists forecast that for every dollar invested in public infrastructure, up to a ten-fold return to the tax payer is possible.

"Within the ‘economic return on investment’ mix is substantial jobs growth.

"These job creating and economic benefits are magnified when the public investment is made in a parlous economy like the Upper Spencer Gulf region is currently experiencing, which has forced more and more people into the unemployment ranks.

"The upgrade and sealing of Yorkeys Crossing as a local transport infrastructure project is of sufficient size … to generate scores of much-needed jobs for the region.      

"It’s a ’no brainer’ and long overdue – and a more logical and cost-effective open than widening the Joy Baluch Bridge through Port Augusta, which would cost in the order of $200 million.

"Upgrading Yorkeys Crossing would not only create dozens if not hundreds of jobs for local people but also take the cork out of the economic bottle in the state’s north.

"An all-weather Yorkeys Crossing would also be safer for motorists and facilitate tourism.

"We would also see a reduction in industry ‘down time’ from rain forced road closures."

Despite being a live issued in Port Augusta, the call has received no support from the government or the opposition, according to media reports from the state.

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