State Government commits to duplication of Joy Baluch AM Bridge

22 November 2017

SA Government: The State Labor Government has committed its share of the $200 million duplication of the Joy Baluch AM Bridge in Port Augusta and is calling on the Federal Government to do the same.

The bridge is a critical link in the National Land Transport Network and national tourist routes, and is a vital crossing for the Spencer Gulf township.

The existing bridge is almost 50 years old and provides one lane in each direction.

The duplication will include widening the approach roads to allow for two lanes in both directions between Mackay Street (south of the bridge) and Burgoyne Street (north of the bridge). The duplication will improve freight efficiency and safety for all road users and pedestrians. It will also improve access in the case of an emergency or accident.

Consistent with other projects located on the National Land Transport Network, the $200 million duplication is proposed to be funded on an 80:20 basis, with the State Labor Government committing $40 million towards the project and seeking a contribution of $160 million from the Federal Government.

The project is expected to support 255 jobs a year over two years and, with a Federal funding commitment, works could begin as early as next year.

Background

Located at the junction of the Stuart, Eyre and Princes highways, Port Augusta is known as the Crossroads of Australia.

The Joy Baluch AM Bridge is part of the 14,500 kilometre National Highway One and provides a critical Spencer Gulf crossing for Port Augusta.

It is a squeeze point along the highway as most of the remainder of Highway One through Port Augusta has duplicated carriageways.

Since the closure of the local councilís Great Western Bridge in March, the Joy Baluch AM Bridge has become an alternative crossing for pedestrians and cyclists.

The Great Western Bridge is under the care and control of the Port Augusta City Council and had to be closed because the council did not maintain it to a suitable standard.

Following the closure, the State Government has undertaken measures to improve safety on the Joy Baluch AM Bridge including:

Lighting and further signage upgrades are expected to be completed by the end of this year, together with another road lighting upgrade for the nearby Eyre and Stuart highway junction.

Quotes attributable to Transport and Infrastructure Minister Stephen Mullighan

The duplication of the Joy Baluch Bridge is a critical nation-building project which will provide greater certainty for the national freight network and help to make it more efficient.

Itís also an important crossing point for the people who live in and around Port Augusta, as well as tourists who travel to the town and beyond.

Duplicating the bridge will remove some of the constraints that currently force some heavy vehicles to detour via the unsealed Yorkeys Crossing, which can be closed during wet periods.

It will also help to address the issue of pedestrian safety which arose after the forced closure of the Great Western Bridge because the Port Augusta City Council didnít properly maintain it.

We know this project will provide enormous benefits both locally and nationally which is why weíre calling on the Federal Government to commit its share of this $200 million infrastructure project.

The sooner we get this commitment, the sooner we can get started on the work and deliver these benefits for everyone.

 

--ENDS--

 

Source:  South Australian Government - www.premier.sa.gov.au

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