After many years of pastoralists and the mining industry advocating for the Strzelecki Track in the state's Far North East to be sealed a start will finally be made.
The state government has committed $10 million to sealing the first 50 kilometres of track, north of Lyndhurst, with that section due to be completed by the last quarter of 2021, weather permitting.
The 472km Strzelecki Track from Lyndhurst to Innamincka, near the SA-Qld border, is a vital supply link for the state's major oil and gas suppliers in the Cooper Basin and also freight route for beef pastoralists.
Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Local Government Stephan Knoll says the project will improve the livestock supply chain, increase regional tourism, reduce environmental impacts and slash freight costs for the resources sector.
"The nature of the unsealed road makes it inaccessible during wet weather and flood events, negatively impacting on the efficient and safe operation of road users, especially freight," he said.
"In the three-month period from February to April this year, there were four inclement weather events which results in the road being closed for 13 days which stifles business."
Mr Knoll says the state government will continue to work with the federal government to secure funding to seal the remainder of the Strzlecki track.
"Like the former State Labor administration, we are also open to considering private sector contribution for upgrading the remainder of the track and which has been an agenda item for a number of years," he said.
SACOME chief executive officer Rebecca Knol has welcomed the announcement saying it represented a timely investment in one of SA's economically important transport routes.
"It will result in productivity and safety benefits for multiple industry sectors as well as provide a 'shovel ready' project to assist SA's post COVID-19 economic recovery," she said.
"It is encouraging to seeregional projects that can make a significant economic contribution to the state appropriately valued and prioritised."
SACOME has been calling on the government to increase its road maintenance funding to $300 million per year over the next five years to address a $750 million backlog and Ms Knol says this is a "welcome contribution to addressing this backlog."
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