Traffic woes

A local MP believes “hundreds of millions of dollars” needs to be invested in a Globelink-style truck bypass around the Hills.

The major delays faced by commuters traversing the freeway during peak hour last week are yet another sign that a solution to Adelaide’s freight traffic woes is desperately needed.
Motorists find themselves slowed to a crawl on one of the State’s busiest roads with frustrating regularity, the culprit usually a car accident or truck breakdown.
For years, successive State Governments have mulled over the solution, with little action to show for it.
But the problem is not going to go away.
In fact, it’s only going to get worse.
Channelling the bulk of the State’s freight traffic through suburban streets is no longer a suitable option and will become less so as traffic volumes – including freight – increase with population growth.
The freeway itself is also problematic with increasing traffic from Mt Barker’s ballooning population compounded by a lack of public transport and the abundance of trucks traversing what has been labeled Australia’s most dangerous descent into a capital city.
Trucks are essential and drivers need to accept we must share the road with them, but giving heavy vehicles a viable alternative to access Adelaide’s industrial heartland in the north is vital.
A northern road bypass is a logical solution. But other options, like rail – which is by far the most efficient method of bulk freight transport – should also be considered as part of the solution.
Adelaide’s freight rail line is slow and cumbersome and stakeholders have warned that the city risks being excluded from the national rail network if a faster, new rail corridor is not developed to bypass the Hills.
The State Government says its Globelink plan – a key election promise in 2018 – did not pass an independent ‘business case’ test and the whole plan was dumped.
Yet no other solution has been forthcoming and neither the State nor the Commonwealth appears to have a clear strategy for the future of Australia’s freight transport network.
An efficient road and rail bypass around the Hills may be hugely expensive with little immediate return. But in the long term it may be what it takes to future-proof our State and ensure we are not just a backwater.