Traffic congestion

Traffic congestion along the freeway is becoming an increasing concern among Hills commuters.
The planned additional lane between Crafers and Stirling will likely ease some of that congestion in an area deemed a bottleneck for the thousands of commuters that travel to Adelaide for work every day.
The State Government has also flagged a possible extension of the third lane to Mt Barker to address the congestion that is likely to increase as the town rapidly grows.
But while the multi-million dollar solution could help to address the town’s growing pains, there is more than one way to relieve freeway congestion between Mt Barker and Adelaide.
It would be prudent for the State Government to also explore other solutions, including removing some of the traffic from the road.
A fast rail passenger train has long been spruiked as a possible way to address the booming population growth in the Hills and decrease the traffic volume travelling down the hill each day.
But while it would provide commuters with a fast, hassle-free alternative to driving, that project is likely to cost close to $1 billion and may never eventuate.
Other options should also be explored, including creating more jobs within Mt Barker.
Job creation in the region would be one significant step towards permanent traffic relief, preventing the exodus of workers from Mt Barker and surrounds every morning.
Given that creating a third lane along a 1km section of the freeway is tipped to cost $14m, it’s likely that extending that lane the additional 15km to Mt Barker would cost significantly more.
That money may be better spent incentivising Adelaide-based businesses to open offices in the region or offering tax breaks to businesses that establish themselves in the town.
That could save the Government money in the longer term by reducing maintenance and upgrade costs caused by growing traffic volumes.
But the benefits could be much further reaching than that.
Growing local business will stimulate the Hills economy, while engaging more locals in work close to their homes may also improve quality of life and work-life balance by significantly reducing commuting time.