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Key SA freight routes get slice of infrastructure funding

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Strzelecki Track sealing to start as stimulus efforts target local and regional roads

Key SA freight routes get slice of infrastructure funding
Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure image of Strzelecki Track


South Australia will see a $145 million infrastructure investment towards numerous projects and a further $10 million to seal a section of the notorious Strzelecki Track.

The announcement of the former comprises a $115.6 million federal injection and a $28.9 million state contribution to a host of

"This package includes a $52 million Regional Road Network Package, which will build on investments under the Roads of Strategic Importance initiative to deliver pavement treatments, shoulder sealing and safety enhancements to benefit the freight industry and regional communities across the state," federal transport and infrastucture minister Michael McCormack explains.

"We will also fund a $12 million higher-capacity North-South Freight Route bypassing Adelaide.

"This will deliver upgrades along the route between Murray Bridge and the Sturt Highway to remove speed restrictions and improve productivity, with initial works to get under way within six months."

Federal cities and urban infrastructure minister Alan Tudge states the purpose of the funding is to deliver shovel-ready projects across SA as part of stimulus efforts.

"Our investment in road safety infrastructure will transform and modernise the Heysen tunnels under the South Eastern Freeway," Tudge says.

"We’re also upgrading the freeway to deliver speed-activated signage on the steep descent into Adelaide."

South Australian transport minister Stephan Knoll lauds the focus on the regional aspect of the package.

"We are funding a suite of safety improvements across the state which will include fixing Long Valley Road through localised widening, shoulder sealing, intersection treatments, safety barriers and sight distance improvements."

The announcement draws plaudits from the South Australian Freight Council (SAFC).

"SAFC welcomes the announcement today," it tweets.

"Perhaps even more important than the $12m for the 'back of the hills' route is the $52m for regional road improvements (condition and safety) on some of SA's most important highways."

Separately, the state government is using $10 million to kickstart sealing the first 50km of the 472km Strzelecki Track, starting immediately north of Lyndhurst.

"Sealing the Strzelecki Track has been talked about for decades and will unlock massive economic potential and growth in regional South Australia," Knoll adds.

"The nature of the unsealed road makes it inaccessible during wet weather and flood events, negatively impacting on the efficient and safe operation of road users, especially freight.

"We are prioritising this project because it will improve the livestock supply chain, increase regional tourism, reduce environmental impacts and slash freight costs for the resources sector."

The South Australian Road Transport Association (SARTA) tells the ABC the road had a "fearsome reputation among truck drivers" and expressed relief the works will finally take hold.

"That road, if you can call it a road, eats trucks for a living, it shakes them apart, it destroys them unlike any other road in our state," CEO Steve Shearer says.

"The trucks get shaken so much that most truck operators have to do a major rebuild on the truck every five or six journeys. In a normal truck's life you might do that every five years.

"It'd probably have to be listed as one of the worst roads in the country."

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