Road improvement funding speeds up

Road improvement funding speeds up

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THREE key regional roads with benefit from the accelerated $415 million infrastructure fund announced by the federal and state government.

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THREE key regional roads with benefit from the accelerated $415 million infrastructure fund announced by the federal and state government.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison was in town today to announce the $328m, to be spread across six projects, will be brought forward.

Road upgrades across SA have been accelerated with Prime Minister Scott Morrison in town today to talk about the $328 million in funding across six projects.

"By bringing forward these important road projects we will drive jobs, boost the economy and make roads safer, while reducing travel times so people can be with their families instead of being stuck in traffic," he said.

Among the announcements was the fact the $143m Rural Roads Safety Package, which was budgeted to begin in 2021-22, will begin flowing immediately.

Also bought forward was $86.75m in state and federal funding for the $125m Port Augusta to Perth corridor.

Meanwhile there is also $75m for the $92m Victor Harbor road duplication and $50m for the $55m Horrocks Highway upgrade - which were both initially allocated to begin "beyond 2022-23", but have funding "immediately".

The announcement also includes new funds for the Darlington upgrade - $87.5m - and $16m for the Flinders Link.

Premier Steven Marshall said this announcement built on $11.9 billion of infrastructure works across the next four years.

"By working collaboratively with the Morrison government we have been able to fast track a number of regional road projects to help build regional communities, improve road safety and help save lives on our country roads," he said.

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Federal Population, Cities and Urban Infrastructure Minister Alan Tudge said the new package followed a significant funding boost for South Australian infrastructure at the most recent Budget.

"Today's announcement not only brings funding forward for projects that can be delivered sooner, there is $78m in additional funding for existing projects to take them through to completion," he said.

SA Transport, Planning and Local Government Minister Stephan Knoll said the Marshall Government announced a record $1.115b in the most recent state Budget for regional roads and infrastructure.

"Since coming to government, in conjunction with the Morrison government, we are delivering key regional road projects including the Port Wakefield Bypass, Joy Baluch Bridge duplication, Victor Harbor Road duplication, fixing the Horrocks Highway and investing hundreds of millions of dollars on road safety treatments right across SA," he said.

The SA Freight Council has welcomed the announcement of accelerated road upgrades, with executive officer Evan Knapp saying it addresses several of the top priorities outlined in their 20-year State Infrastructure Strategy Submission.

"In particular it addresses the Horrocks Highway - an important regional highway for the transport of grain and other export commodities - which is currently in very poor condition," he said.

"SAFC also welcomes the reprofiling of 'Port Augusta to Perth Corridor' funding - which critically includes money for Eyre Peninsula roads that will face increased heavy vehicle traffic due to the cessation of grain transport by rail in the region.

"This was our number 2 'Urgent' priority in Moving Freight 2019."

Mr Knapp said SAFC had previously criticised the Commonwealth's budget allocations for 2019-20 and 2022-23, noting a "significant drop off" in road infrastructure funding.

"This announcement is welcome in that it addresses critical infrastructure needs, and provides an improved funding allocation overall which will help maintain a skilled infrastructure construction workforce in SA," he said.

The Civil Contractors Federation SA has also welcomed the news, saying previous announcements had been too slow to come to fruition.

The Federation has previously expressed dismay that the Augusta Highway, between Port Wakefield and Port Augusta - "arguably the most important regional road in the state" - had been overlooked for high priority funding.

CCFSA CEO Phil Sutherland said there was also the opportunity to provide jobs for SA residents, if the contracts were set up to allow smaller SA firms to take part in the tender.

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