Adelaide Hills community members have gathered in a show of force to protest the Malinauskas Labor Government’s plan to divert trucks from Hahndorf’s main street and instead send them down River Road - a band-aid solution that has been described as a “deadly decision”.
More than 500 locals have signed an online petition opposing the plan, with another significant petition to be tabled in Parliament in coming weeks calling on Peter Malinauskas to reverse his decision to divert trucks onto River and Strathalbyn roads.
Meanwhile, Freedom of Information documents have revealed the true cost of safely sending trucks via River Road could cost up to $165 million and result in the bulldozing of up to 70 properties and see significant trees cut down.
Frustrated residents on River Road have told the Opposition they were not consulted on Labor’s knee-jerk announcement and say River Road is too dangerous to cater for up to 130 heavy vehicles each day from November 1.
They say the existing concerns include:
- Unsuitability of the road design - bends, windy, blind corners.
- Safety issues and death trap for pedestrians that frequently use the road including school children.
- Unnecessary risk to recreational horse riders, cyclists and others.
- Likely collisions with wildlife regularly crossing the road - kangaroos, koalas, turtles, ducks.
- A high number of houses very close to the road- creating noise, vibration, highly disruptive also potential risk of trucks going off the road into a house.
- Traffic flows will be greatly reduced- particularly T-junction at end of River Road, but also concern during emergencies like fire and flood.
Shadow Minister for Transport and Infrastructure, Vincent Tarzia, said the best solution would be the Hahndorf Bypass Project.
“Labor’s knee-jerk River Road diversion is not a solution whatsoever,” Mr Tarzia said.
“Labor’s costings are way off - if River Road was to progress as a viable option we’re talking about an investment of up to $165 million that could see up to 70 homes bulldozed to make sure the road is safe for heavy vehicles.
“Labor is trying to do this on the cheap by putting up only a fraction of the money needed and it’s clearly policy on the run.
“We understand the need to divert heavy vehicles around the township of Hahndorf but we need clarity on the future of the Hahndorf Bypass Project which remains on the chopping block after being under review by Federal Labor for months.
“The review was completed more than a month ago and we still have no answers.”
Member for Heysen Josh Teague said his local community has been blocked from having their say.
“Residents living on River Road, Strathalbyn Road, and in Echunga have been blindsided by Labor’s decision to run trucks on a road that is not fit for purpose,” Mr Teague said.
“Family homes guard the very edge of River Road and Strathalbyn Road and Labor has approved this potentially dangerous plan without even consulting the community.
“Peter Malinauskas needs to put the brakes on his plan to send heavy vehicles down River Road and Strathalbyn Road so the local community can be heard.
“We know River and Strathalbyn roads are dangerous for trucks with bend and blind corners and if this is rushed, the consequences could be tragic and life-threatening.”