Road fix

Matthew Williams began a petition last week opposing any speed limit reduction on Long Valley Road, which has since amassed more than 2100 signatures from mostly Strathalbyn residents concerned over the impact it will have on their connection to other towns.

The State Government’s recent announcement that it will investigate potential upgrades for Mt Barker’s Adelaide Road is welcome news, but must be backed by meaningful action.
Adelaide Road – the main entry route into Mt Barker – is quickly reaching capacity.
Increasing traffic, the lack of right turning lanes and numerous sets of traffic lights all contribute to congestion on the thoroughfare, which links Mt Barker’s town centre to the freeway, several other main connector roads and nearby towns like Totness and Littlehampton.
The problem will only intensify as more farmland around the town is developed into housing estates.
While the new Bald Hills Road interchange, completed in 2016, has diverted some traffic from the town’s west and from other nearby towns including Nairne, it won’t be enough to cater for massive developments to the east.
The Heysen Boulevard – which, as it is currently planned, will act as a connector road for many of the these new estates – may actually make the problem worse, funnelling traffic from the town’s outskirts to the freeway interchange via Adelaide and Hawthorn roads.
While the Government says it’s too early to know what the proposed Adelaide Road solutions may be, it’s vital that it realises that the region needs real solutions that result in meaningful and lasting change – not a series of Band-Aid fixes that don’t solve the problem in the long term.
If another freeway interchange north-east of Mt Barker is not built to cater for the region’s growth, major upgrades of the existing interchange will be needed.
These solutions will likely come at a significant cost.
However, that is a cost that should have been counted when the previous Labor Government rezoned 1300ha of farmland around the town a decade ago.
Let’s hope this latest announcement results in a serious funding commitment and doesn’t just turn out to be – like Globelink, which also promised to solve major traffic issues through the Hills – a pre-election promise that is later discarded as financially unviable.