Traffic plan

Concerns about dramatically increased traffic problems and congestion in Mt Barker are hardly surprising.
Thousands of new residents have poured into the town since the State Government rezoned 1300ha of farming land for housing in 2010.
As only about 10% of that rezoned land has been developed, thousands more are still to follow and yet the Mt Barker Council has no up-to-date strategy to manage the town’s traffic into the future.
Its most recent plan was endorsed in 2009 – before the rezoning occurred.
Concerns in the community are not unreasonable, particularly from residents in areas surrounding major thoroughfares such as Adelaide Road, who must make lengthy and frustrating detours in order to simply access the town centre.
It must be remembered that major arterial roads like Adelaide, Flaxley and Wellington roads are under State Government jurisdiction, which adds a level of complexity to any council wishlist.
Improvements to these roads must be high on a council traffic agenda and should form part of a detailed and overarching plan which must be supported by the State and Federal governments.
Mt Barker was not designed to be the city it is set to become and it will never again be the small, country town it once was.
The Heysen Boulevard – a bypass road connecting the new housing estates – will help reduce congestion in the town to some degree.
However, the single-lane road will not be the silver bullet hoped for by some and a range of other upgrades will be needed.
With 90% of the rezoned land still to be developed, the town’s traffic issues will only get worse without action.
The council has said it is in the process of updating its traffic management plan.
It can only be hoped the updated plan is not a patch-up job, but rather one which details major road changes and improvements and one which is supported by all levels of government.