Traffic problems

Work along the freeway up-track is expected to continue until midyear.

The latest push for an investigation into passenger rail through the Hills is a clear sign the State Transport Minister Corey Wingard’s stark rejection of the concept is not going to be enough to quiet growing calls for workable traffic solutions.
Pressure has been mounting on the State Government to find a fix for the increasing freeway congestion since it dumped its highly spruiked GlobeLink plan to divert freight transport around the Hills.
Mr Wingard claims he’s focused on road-based solutions – rather than rail – including upgrading existing roads to create a more viable freight bypass.
The SA Freight Council thinks that plan will remove less than half the trucks from the freeway.
The RAA says parts of the freeway are already at capacity and wants planning for a third lane from Stirling to Mt Barker.
However, while a bypass may help relieve some of the truck pressure, the third lane proposal won’t solve the bottleneck at the bottom of the freeway or the growing congestion along Adelaide’s struggling road network, including Glen Osmond, Portrush and Cross roads.
Mr Wingard says that passenger rail to Mt Barker – which the Adelaide Hills Council believes could take significant commuter traffic off the freeway and suburban roads – is financially unviable.
That may well be the case, but Mr Wingard has provided no study or other evidence to back up his claim.
If he believes road-based solutions are the answer, it is beholden on him to outline to the Hills community exactly what he has in mind.
It is likely that no single solution will be a magic fix but the bottom line of any proposal must be to reduce traffic numbers.
Perhaps a combination of public transport improvements, road upgrades and job creation initiatives within the region – to reduce the need for commuter traffic – will be necessary to support Mt Barker as it grows into the State’s second largest city.
But what is abundantly clear is that the region must not go any longer without a strategy that meaningfully addresses freight and passenger transport issues.
The two certainties are that the traffic problem is only going to get worse and that it will be massively expensive to fix.
It is time for a visionary decision from both the State and Federal Governments.