RAA urges state govt to commit funding to road upgrades

RAA urges state govt to commit funding to road upgrades

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The RAA is urging the state government to commit to supporting multi-million dollar investments for regional roads in next month's state budget.

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The RAA is urging the state government to commit to supporting multi-million dollar investments for regional roads in next month's state budget.

Investments ranging from shovel-ready road maintenance projects, to main street makeovers will provided regional and rural areas with a much-needed economic stimulus, greatly needed amid COVID-19.

A recent RAA survey found 90 per cent of respondents were planning to travel in regional SA in the next year, with the need for road improvements in these areas therefore imperative.

Specifically, RAA is seeking the establishment of a $20-million state government Main Street Makeover Fund, to revitalise public places.

RAA spoksperson Charles Mountain said revitalised main streets could encourage tourists and locals to spend time in a town rather than simply passing through.

"The makeover fund could provide enhancements such as upgraded footpaths, better pedestrian lighting, seating, public art, additional landscaping and provision for smart technology such as Wi-Fi," he said.

"These types of improvements could be planned and implemented relatively quickly, creating work for local businesses and deliver long-term benefits for the whole community.''

RAA's submission to the state government also includes a focus on improvements to regional and rural highways.

Last year, 114 people lost their lives on the SA roads - SA's highest road toll since 2010.

RELATED READING:Crash outcomes worse on rural roads: RAA

Mr Mountain said the fatalities, many of which were in regional SA, highlighted the vital need for continued investment in the road network, and why RAA has been lobbying for a boost to state's annual road maintenance budget.

"Infrastructure SA has classified 75pc of SA's road surfaces as being in poor condition, so we welcomed the joint announcement in September by the federal and state governments of an extra $46 million to be spent on road upgrades,'' he said.

"We are looking for this good news to continue with a commitment from the state government to increase the annual road maintenance budget from $110-million to $160-million, with an additional $145 million extra per year over the next five years to eliminate the backlog of work that needs to be completed.''

Specifically, the RAA is calling for a state government funding commitment to:

  • Construct three overtaking lanes along the Riddoch Highway, between Keith and Naracoorte.
  • Upgrade the Spencer Hwy between Minlaton and Maitland, along with Upper Yorke Road from Kulpara to Maitland.
  • Ensure a consistent level of reliable mobile phone coverage along the state's transport corridors.
  • Upgrade Dukes Highway to accommodate autonomous freight transport and connected vehicle technology.

RAA is also seeking to support tourism by asking the state government to improve mobile data coverage in the state's national parks and other key tourist locations, help local councils develop cycling trails, and invest in a network of electric vehicle fast charging stations across the state, including at Wilpena Pound.

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