By Samuel Smith
Last updated on: June 24, 2019 at 12:34 pm
Blessed with picture-perfect beaches and coastal charm, the Yorke Peninsula is one of South Australia’s most popular holiday destinations.
But its roads are less than alluring – 92% of members surveyed in RAA’s 2019 Yorke Peninsula Regional Road Assessment said major road infrastructure improvements were needed in the area.
Furthermore, 77% said local roads weren’t maintained to an acceptable standard.
Uneven or undulating road surfaces were the most concerning road issue for 57% of respondents.
This was followed by pot holes (17%), narrow roads, lanes or bridges (12%), lack of overtaking opportunities (7%) and unsafe intersections (3%).
Tragically, between 2013 and 2017, 37 people died and 902 people were injured on Yorke Peninsula roads.
In late 2018, RAA’s road safety team made it their mission to find out why.
Over 5 days, the team travelled 2500km, assessing the condition of the region’s roads. They came back with a number of recommendations aimed to improve mobility and road safety across the region.
One road that needed attention was the Augusta Hwy.
The Augusta Hwy is part of the federally managed National Highway network, and is significant to freight and tourism across Australia.
Due to an alarming number of deaths along the stretch of road, the RAA road safety team concluded that duplication was the most effective way to improve safety and efficiency.
Leading up to the 2019 federal election, RAA lobbied hard for the highway’s duplication.
The government has now announced $64 million will be committed to the staged duplication of Augusta Hwy. RAA recognise that this is far from the total funding needed to fully duplicate the highway, however, it is a very welcome commitment to the first stage of this crucial project.
The most mentioned highway in the member survey was Spencer Hwy, and particularly the section between Maitland and Minlaton. Though its crash history isn’t as troublesome as Augusta Hwy’s, respondents described it as undulating, narrow, dangerous and extremely bumpy.
To address these issues, RAA’s road safety team recommended rut filling and increasing lane and shoulder width from Moonta to Minlaton.
They also recommended reconstruction the road for 5km south of Maitland, and resealing uneven sections of carriageway where full reconstruction isn’t required.
Copper Coast Hwy is a state-maintained highway and is the gateway to the Yorke Peninsula for both freight and tourists approaching from Adelaide or the eastern states.
Significant investment has been made on the Copper Coast Highway in recent years, and this was evident with most sections of the highway now in good condition. However, the RAA road safety team recommended repairing the road surface in Wallaroo and installing at least 3 new overtaking lanes
Another major area of concern was Port Wakefield Rd.
To improve general safety and efficiency, the road safety team’s main recommendations were to reseal the left northbound lane near Windsor and the left hand southbound lane between Lower Light and Porter Rd.
They also recommended an upgrade of the intersection with Mallala Rd and a review of the placement and condition of guide post delineators.