Freeway fix

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

The State Government’s $75m promise to upgrade the freeway is a welcome investment.
However, it is still just a Band-Aid fix for the freeway’s congestion issue.
The Government plans to install a moveable centre barrier system which would respond to accidents by automatically creating an extra lane to accommodate traffic.
But while any investment to improve traffic flow on the freeway is welcome, this measure alone will not solve the overarching fact that at times the freeway is at capacity.
It will not provide a long-term solution to congestion – a problem that will only worsen with time as Mt Barker continues to grow.
Neither the State Government nor the Opposition have promised anything that will remove significant volumes of traffic from the interstate highway or create a meaningful alternative route.
The latest promise of $75m may seem like a large amount, but in reality it is just a fraction of the expenditure needed.
A real solution that will future-proof our region is likely to cost a significant amount – and it’s money that will eventually need to be spent.
The issue will not simply go away – it will only get worse and continue to create a dangerous environment on the freeway.
The Adelaide Hills Council has made improvement to passenger and freight transport the number one item on its State election wishlist, including a Northern Freight Train Bypass to connect the Hills to the national rail network at an estimated cost of between $4.5 and $6 billion.
It also wants to see faster commuter passenger transport while the Mt Barker Council has announced that its top five infrastructure priorities ahead of the election include the much-needed completion of the Heysen Boulevard, as well as a new Mt Barker Hospital.
Let’s hope both of SA’s political parties listen to the needs of the region and take meaningful action to solve some of the problems Hills residents have already been living with for far too long.