Save lives, not minutes - Labor has power to choose

Tuesday 23 August, 2022

The Opposition is calling on the Malinauskas Labor Government to shelve an unnecessary southern suburbs ramp project in favour of an additional arrester bed as well as other safety measures to potentially save lives on the South Eastern Freeway.

The $120 million Southern Expressway on/off ramp at Majors Road has already been shown to have little to no economic benefit and was labelled as a project that “could not be justified” in a 2020 feasibility study.

The same independent analysis also identified there would be “significant volumes of additional traffic along Majors Road” and that “duplication of the road would be required" – something the State Government has bizarrely already ruled out.

Leader of the Opposition David Speirs said last month’s miracle escape on the South Eastern Freeway is a warning sign to boost safety.

“Labor must prioritise saving lives on our roads over potentially saving drivers a few minutes,” Mr Speirs said.

“We know the Majors Road ramp project doesn’t stack up, and the former Liberal Government invested huge amounts in the South Eastern Freeway by adding a third lane and securing a $75 million upgrade of the Heysen Tunnels including improvements to the traffic management system and lighting.

“On top of those much-needed upgrades which will start later this year, a third arrester bed as well as other safety measures can now be prioritised to protect motorists.

“A third arrester could help minimise the threat of runaway trucks that have no means of stopping towards the bottom of the South Eastern Freeway.

“Wasting at least $120 million of taxpayer money on an on/off ramp at Majors Road makes no sense when that money could be spent on safety measures that could save lives.”

Shadow Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Vincent Tarzia said construction on the third arrester bed could be started quickly.

“If the money is there, anything is possible, and by cancelling the unnecessary Majors Road project Labor can get the funds out the door,” he said.

“Initial costings have been estimated between $30 and $40 million meaning there would still be plenty of money left over to implement additional safety measures.

“We can have a multi-prong safety approach that can ensure the South Eastern Freeway is safer for all motorists.”

David Pisoni, Member for Unley, echoed calls for a third arrester bed.

“We are at the point now where something needs to be done and money should be no object because you cannot put a price on South Australian lives,” he said.

“Following the lucky near-miss last month, my community has been raising concerns about the safety of the intersection at the bottom of the freeway and want a solution.” 

Jack Batty, Member for Bragg, is once again calling on the Malinauskas Labor Government to expedite the Greater Adelaide Freight Bypass Planning Study.

“The study is investigating the construction of upgraded freight routes to enable trucks to be diverted from the South Eastern Freeway to bypass Adelaide,” he said.

“We know if more trucks are diverted away from the freeway other drivers can have a safer journey on the down track.”