Freeway interchange

The news that Mt Barker’s second freeway interchange will be done properly – with all four on and off ramps for traffic heading towards Adelaide AND Murray Bridge – is a win for the community and common sense.
It never sat well with the Mt Barker Council that after years of work one of the most rapidly growing residential areas in regional SA would end up with half an interchange – a similar scenario that exists at Hahndorf.
If that Adelaide-centric design had been built, the chances of the other two ramps being built would have been slim.
For once this community probably has the downturn in the economy to thank, in part, for creating such a competitive market so the council and the State and Federal Governments could get a better deal.
The work by the council over the past decade to make the interchange “shovel ready” by buying land on all four corners around the Bald Hills Road tunnel also helped.
However, it’s more likely that the project has benefited from a cautious financial approach, with governments over estimating costs to make sure they don’t get caught with a budget blow-out.
Whatever the reason, this four-way interchange will be a vital piece of infrastructure for a growing region and the persistence of the council and local Federal MP Jamie Briggs, and the co-operation between the three tiers of government should be applauded.
Once built the new exits will remove some of the pressure from the existing interchange at Mt Barker and provide an alternative route for motorists in the event of traffic issues on Adelaide Road.
It might even help the much anticipated expansion of Monarto as a business hub, with potential employees having easier access to residential areas at Nairne and further afield.
But the interchange won’t solve all of the region’s growing pains.
Internal traffic congestion will continue to plague Mt Barker, and Nairne residents should brace themselves for more through traffic at the Woodside Road/Old Princes Highway intersection as motorists take advantage of the new interchange and abandon the long trek along Onkaparinga Valley Road to Hahndorf.
Hills dwellers might just have to cross that bridge when they come to it.