Broken roads a Barrier to safety

14 June, 2023

Critical road maintenance and upgrades are required to improve safety of the Barrier Highway and Broken Hill road network, according to RAA’s latest regional road assessment.

The state’s largest member organisation has raised concerns about a mangled section of the Barrier Highway south of Burra, on which the rate of serious crashes is double that of the rest of the road leading to Broken Hill.

RAA Senior Traffic Engineer Matt Vertudaches said the least safe section of the highway was also the busiest.

“RAA’s regional road assessment of the Barrier Highway and Broken Hill found the biggest concern for Barrier Highway users was the stretch of the corridor south of Burra, which is in need of maintenance and requires upgrades to achieve a 3-star AusRAP rating,” Mr Vertudaches said.

“Despite making up only 18 per cent of the road, this section accounts for almost half of its serious crashes.

“We welcome the $62.5m in funding to date to improve the Highway north of Burra, but upgrades to the remaining section need to be progressed as soon as possible.

“This section is in desperate need of maintenance, especially between Saddleworth and Black Springs where crumbling potholes have been patched up multiple times.

“Road widening and shoulder sealing works are also needed for much of its length south of Burra.”

RAA’s report also recommended other high-priority improvements:

  • UPGRADE narrow bridges such as the Three Sisters Bridge south of Yunta, to improve safety and flood resilience
  • INSTALL safety barriers along the highway to reduce the likelihood of collisions with hazardous vegetation south of Burra
  • COMPLETE road re-sealing and shoulder widening between Giles Corner and north of Burra.
  • UPGRADE rest stop facilities along the Barrier Highway
  • INSTALL an overtaking lane in each direction between Giles Corner and Burra
  • UNDERTAKE a Broken Hill freight study to consider ways of reducing heavy vehicle movements through the city’s residential areas.

Mr Vertudaches said the regional assessment was RAA’s first review of the road network in Broken Hill – home to more than 6,500 RAA members.

“As part of our assessment we reviewed the most highly raised roads and intersections around Broken Hill based on feedback from the local community,’’ Mr Vertudaches said.

“Our report also recommends resealing Silverton Road, upgrading some key intersections and improving pedestrian and cycling accessibility.

“But due to the number of heavy vehicles passing through the area, we believe a freight study is needed for Broken Hill as a first step to determining the most sustainable design of many of these roads and intersections.”

To read the full Barrier Highway and Broken Hill Regional Road Assessment visit