By Jeremy Rochow
Last updated on: April 4, 2019 at 8:39 am
Following the federal government’s announcement it’ll allocate $1.5 billion to complete the North-South Corridor, we decided to have a look back at how one of SA’s most important roads has evolved over the years.
Did you know that until the 1970s, South Rd was comprised of a number of smaller roads?
Yep, that’s right. South Rd, as we know it today, was once made-up of Shillabeer Ave, passing from Regency Rd to Torrens Rd; Government Rd between Torrens Rd and Port Rd; John St between Port Rd and Grange Rd; Taylors Rd between Grange Rd and Henley Beach Rd; Fisher Tce between Henley Beach Rd and Anzac Hwy; and South Rd from Anzac Hwy southwards.
South Rd has existed in some form or another for almost as long as South Australia, with the route mentioned in newspapers as far back as 1842. On 2 April, the South Australian Gazette references sheep stations near the corner of South Rd and Sturt Rd, which is now in the suburb of Bedford Park.
It’s the first of many mentions of South Rd, with the major South Australian corridor featuring in newspapers throughout the state’s history for both positive and negative reasons.
In 1913, the Daily Herald labelled road conditions “deplorable” while images of cars splashing through a flooded South Rd appeared in The News in 1937.
Numerous car crashes along South Rd have been reported in South Australia’s newspapers, with the most poignant image appearing in The Observer on 21 February, 1925. The front page of the newspaper features a photograph of a vehicle destroyed by a train at Hilton, killing the two occupants.
South Rd upgrades
As the state has grown, so has South Rd, with a variety of projects undertaken over the years to improve safety and congestion.
In 1952, automatic boom gates were installed at the Emerson Rail Crossing at the intersection of South Rd and Cross Rd, before an overpass was built over the junction in 1984 to remove the bottleneck.
Swipe to see how the intersection of South Rd and Cross Rd has changed since 1984. Image: Ron Praite
As traffic steadily increased along South Rd through the 1980s and 1990s, the route became more congested, with RAA lobbying the state government to upgrade several intersections that were contributing to traffic jams during peak hour.
In 2005, work began to build an underpass underneath Anzac Hwy. The $118 million Gallipoli Underpass opened in 2009, followed by an overpass for the Adelaide-Glenelg tramway in 2010.
Following the completion of the Gallipoli Underpass, the state government announced the $842 million South Road Superway project. This development, which saw a 2.8km elevated roadway built between the Port River Expressway and Regency Rd, was completed in 2014 and provided motorists with a 4.8km non-stop corridor to Adelaide’s northern suburbs.
The corner of Anzac Hwy and South Rd in 1964 and more recently after the Gallipoli Underpass was constructed.
Image: John Wilson
In 2013, two more sections of South Rd were flagged for needing urgent upgrades to reduce congestion around major intersections.
The Torrens to Torrens project began first, with work starting in 2015 to build a 3km lowered motorway between Ashwin Parade in Torrensville and Pym St in Croydon Park.
South Rd in 2005 before the Torrens to Torrens project was completed in 2018.
South Rd now bypasses a number of major intersections and includes an overpass for the Outer Harbor railway line.
The Darlington upgrade, at the other end of South Rd, began in 2016. A combination of bridges and lowered motorways have been designed to provide a free-flowing route at the northern end of the Southern Expressway, bypassing Flinders Drive, Sturt Rd and Ayliffes Rd. The work is expected to be complete by the end of 2019.
South Rd in Darlington has seen a number of upgrades since 1964. Image: Michael lockley
This week, the federal government announced it’ll commit $1.5 billion to complete the North-South Corridor project, which will create a non-stop 78km route between Gawler and Old Noarlunga.
The funding, along with another $1.2 billion promised by the government in last year’s budget, will help ensure upgrades are made from St Mary’s to Anzac Hwy and from Anzac Hwy to the River Torrens.
RAA has welcomed the federal government’s pledge, which will reduce congestion and improve safety along South Rd. It was one of RAA’s seven federal election priorities.
The completion of the North-South Corridor is forecast to save a combined 40 minutes of travel time during morning and afternoon peak periods between Ashwin Parade and Tonsley Boulevard.