THE South Australian branch of the Civil Contractors Federation of Australia is calling on the state’s government to upgrade a central road transport route through and around Port Augusta to assist the growth of the resources sector.
The lobby group warned that a lack of vital transport infrastructure in the state’s northern region was severely hindering its economic development. “The important transport gateway – known as Yorkeys Crossing – is in major need of redevelopment as it currently falls far short of what is required to promote an expansion of the mining, oil and gas, and other important industry sectors in the state,” the Civil Contractors Federation said in a statement.
Over-size vehicles are currently not permitted to use Port Augusta’s main single-lane bridge and are required to bypass the town by taking Yorkeys Crossing, a 27.5km unsealed road. Although most heavy-truck drivers prefer to take this route, the road is susceptible to flooding that sometimes results in closures.
“The current situation is ludicrous and has the potential to severely retard future development – if it isn’t already – in the north of SA, if the issue is not addressed as a matter of urgency,” Civil Contractors Federation (South Australian branch) chief executive Phil Sutherland said.
“The transport corridor in and around Port Augusta is one of the most strategically important in the nation – it is SA’s gateway to the west and north of Australia, and vice versa for businesses in those states.”
Mr Sutherland said that the establishment of a safe, seamless, all-weather freight corridor was the only way the state was going to see a substantial expansion of its resources sector.
“South Australia is currently branding itself as the doorway to Australia. Unfortunately, we have some critically strategic road transport infrastructure that simply doesn’t measure up to this expectation,” he said “The local council supports our push for an upgrade of these roads – now it’s up to the State Government to do likewise.”