Plan ahead as South Eastern Freeway works peak this holiday period

29 December, 2023

RAA has issued a reminder to motorists heading off or returning from vacations this holiday period that the South Eastern Freeway will be impacted by lane restrictions.  

A major upgrade of the Heysen Tunnels is being undertaken to address current tunnel elements nearing the end of their service life, improve safety and provide improved traffic management and incident response capabilities. 

As a result, the traffic restrictions in place between 2 January and 25 January 2024 include:   

  • The Adelaide-bound tunnel left lane will be closed to all traffic 
  • During the day, speeds on the two Adelaide-bound open lanes will be restricted to 60km/h, and 
  • From 7pm to 6am, the Crafers-bound tunnel will have traffic in both directions, via contraflow, and speeds will be restricted to 40km/h. 

The State Government has reassured South Australians that in the event of a bushfire, other emergency, or on catastrophic fire days, all lanes will be open in both tunnels and posted speed limits will be reinstated for both carriageways. 

RAA’s Senior Manager Safety and Infrastructure Charles Mountain encouraged motorists to familiarise themselves with the traffic restrictions and plan accordingly.  

“While traffic will remain open in both directions, the restrictions mean there are likely to be some delays for motorists around the Heysen tunnels,” Mr Mountain said.  

“Watch out for the start of any lower speed limits and ensure you not only adjust your speed accordingly, but maintain it until you pass the higher speed limits at the end of the work zones.   

“The downhill section to Adelaide means that vehicle speeds can easily increase unless drivers remain vigilant – changing to a lower gear will help maintain the lower speed without constant braking.  

“We’re encouraging motorists to plan ahead and leave a bit earlier if you’ll be using the South Eastern Freeway.  

“Thousands of South Australians will be using the freeway to flock to our beautiful regions and enjoy their holidays and also upon their return.  

“To avoid a frustrating end to your holiday, make sure you’ve had a look at the Government website and are familiar with the traffic restrictions so you know what to expect and can plan ahead.  

“If you’re looking to get into the city, consider catching public transport to avoid the frustration of driving through construction works which will operate as normal throughout this time.”  

For further information, please visit