Project unveiled to sooth congestion in SA


Joint Government project announced to connect three major roads and speed up freight routes to Port Adelaide

 

The South Australian and Federal Governments have announced a $985 million joint funding venture to construct the Northern Connector project, connecting the Northern Expressway to the South Road Superway and Port River Expressway.

The new 15.5km, six lane road will reduce freight times from the state’s north to Port Adelaide, the Governments say, and feature four road interchanges and a 110kmh speed limit.

"With more than half of Adelaide’s freight task located to the north and west of Adelaide, the Northern Connector will significantly reduce heavy vehicle travel times and lower operating costs for the transport industry," a joint media statement says.

"This strategic freight route from northern South Australia to Port Adelaide will ensure our primary producers can get their products to market more effectively and at less cost, meaning more opportunities to grow their business and create jobs."

The funding is on an 80:20 basis, with the Commonwealth Government providing $788 million and the local state Government allocating $197 million.

Construction, believed to provide 480 jobs, will begin in January, with completion expected by 2019.

The new project will not follow the same payment model as the Perth Freight Link; truck movements will be monitored via GPS technology and charges will be allocated.

South Australian transport minister Stephen Mullighan says it is too early to confirm how network charges will work, but says the situation will be sorted out by all parties involved, including transport industry groups.

"I think there's a compelling argument to be moving away from tolls in Australia," Mullighan is quoted as saying.

"A network charge is the way to do it," he says, highlighting it is a lower cost system when compared to the infrastruture required for tolls.

Mullighan suggests a network charge could replace a number of transport operator fees, including registration and fuel excise.

"The concept of a network charge is to do away with all of those charges and replace it with a single charge that is based on the distance a truck travels on the road network and the quality of road that they are travelling on," he says.

"So it is far more accurate and transparent for the truck operators."

 

Courtesy: DPTI South Australia 

 

Like the Northern Connector project, the Perth Freight Link was jointly funded by Federal and state Governments but will involve tolls, a move that has attracted concern from the Transport Workers Union (TWU).

The TWU’s WA secretary Tim Dawson told ATN in June that decision will only put further pressure on transport operators.

"Transport operators are being squeezed enough by the multinationals; now we’ve got a state government that wants to squeeze them more," he said.

In the months following the Perth Freight Link's announcement, the project has come under fire from Greens senator Scott Ludlam, Infrastructure Australia and, on Sunday, protestors took to the Stirling Bridge between East and North Fremantle to demonstrate their displeasure.

In further developments for the state, Prime Minister Tony Abbott promised $116 million to tackle safety and road congestion in the electorate of Canning.

Coming in the lead up to the area’s byelection, the commitment would provide seven kilometres of extra lanes on Armadale Road, and a series of intersection upgrades.

 

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