Federal Member for Grey Rowan Ramsey is celebrating a large $25m commitment from the Federal Government to upgrade the Eyre Peninsula road network to deal with the extra loads expected as a result of the closure of the EP rail network.
“State Transport Minister Stephan Knoll, State Member for Flinders Peter Treloar and I have been working closely since we became aware it was likely that the old narrow gauge railway was likely to close to ensure our road network is significantly improved to cater for the increased road movements,” Mr Ramsey said.
“While final decisions are yet to be made, I am recommending the main works concentrate on completing the widening of the Tod Highway, the installation of passing lanes on the Lincoln Highway and the conversion of the last four kilometres of the rail corridor into Port Lincoln to a haul road for trucks, which will remove all of the grain coming from the west on the city’s roads.
“I know some are uneasy about the closure of the railway, but given the previous $18m the Commonwealth invested in the network along with special grower levy of $2m only refurbished such a small part of the network it has become obvious why the company decided it has reached the end of its practical life.
“Now it is important to deal with the reality and upgrade the road network.
“This is a very strong and sensible response, demonstrating both State and Federal Governments understand the value of our agricultural sector and the increasing importance of our transport networks.”
Mr Ramsey said the commitment is part of a large package announced for SA regional roads last week which includes $150m to upgrade critical freight corridors in Grey through the Roads of Strategic Importance Initiative.
“The network between Port Augusta and the WA border has been allocated $100m which included the EP commitment,” he said.
“A further $50 million will upgrade the corridor between Burra and Cockburn, tackling pinch points between Burra and east of Peterborough through targeted upgrades to widen, strengthen and realign various sections, increasing freight efficiency and competitiveness for the state’s agriculture and mining sectors.
“I have been working with the Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack to continue to invest in our roads which are the key to prosperity in rural and regional areas and good roads are safer,” Mr Ramsey said.
“A good road network is also essential for the functioning of the rest of the state. Infrastructure is a crucial component of any strategy for the long term sustainable development of regional areas.”
Media Contact: Leonie Lloyd-Smith 8633 1744 March 29 2019