RAA calls for huge road maintenance cash injection to prioritise safety

26 May, 2023

Fixing South Australia’s $1.5 billion road maintenance backlog and duplicating key regional corridors have headlined RAA’s 2023-24 State Budget submission.

The state’s largest member organisation is calling for $750m funding over the next four years to tackle the state’s deteriorating road network, as well as $800m to progress the duplication of the Augusta, Sturt and Dukes highways – both critical to helping to achieve zero road deaths by 2050.

RAA has outlined several other key priorities for South Australia in its 2023-24 State Budget submission:

  • Developing an infrastructure resilience plan to improve flood resilience along the Murray River and ensure funding to restore roads is ‘over and above’ existing resources
  • $500 million to upgrade east-west links in the northern suburbs to ease congestion
  • $100 million to upgrade the Mallee Highway and Victor Harbor Road to AusRAP 3-star rated roads
  • $40 million to install a third safety ramp on the South Eastern Freeway
  • $40 million over four years to upgrade cycling infrastructure to provide better connectivity and safety for cyclists
  • Complete and release a plan to transition the public transport network to zero emissions to meet net zero emissions by 2050
  • Enable digital ticket purchases and validation via smart devices to complement the ‘Tap and Pay’ rollout on public transport
  • Develop a long-term plan to improve public transport for Mount Barker and the Adelaide Hills.

RAA Senior Manager Safety and Infrastructure Charles Mountain said the condition of South Australia’s road network was a common issue raised by RAA’s 800,000 members, and contributes to road safety concerns.

Ridley Rd, Cambrai

“Maintaining and improving South Australia’s road network to a safe standard is a critical task that requires significant investment,” Mr Mountain said.

“Last year, an Auditor General’s report showed our state’s road maintenance backlog was set to top $1.5 billion, which is nothing short of alarming. 

“We can no longer delay ramping up road maintenance.  If we don’t act – and act fast – the problem will get out of control and the state simply won’t be able to afford to reel it back in.

“If we let our roads deteriorate too much, they will not only cost more to upgrade to an acceptable standard; they become a hazard for motorists, cyclists and all other road users.”

Mr Mountain said additional funding to restore the estimated 1,200km of road network damaged in the River Murray floods also needs to be allocated in the State Budget.

“Riverland communities are in the process of rebuilding and there needs to be enough money to not only repair their roads, but consider how we can improve the safety and surface longevity through interventions like sealed shoulders, overtaking lanes and protective barriers.”

RAA’s Charles Mountain is interviewed by ABC’s Charles Brice

Duplicating key corridors

Mr Mountain said the duplication of the Augusta, Sturt and Dukes highways is crucial to improving freight efficiencies and road safety outcomes.

“While we welcome the investment on the Augusta Highway to date, it’s important funding is allocated to enable this corridor to be fully duplicated.

“In the decade to 2021, there were 115 lives lost and 281 serious injuries suffered in crashes on these three highways – and we’re all aware of the concerning increase in lives lost on SA roads more broadly in 2023.

“RAA is calling for $800m over the next four years to ensure duplication of these key corridors is completed by 2050.

“Duplicating these high-speed roads will make them significantly safer and we’re keen to see this work progress as soon as possible.

“We’re also calling for $100m to upgrade both Mallee Highway and the remaining sections of the Victor Harbor Road to AusRAP 3-star rated corridors.”

RAA’s submission also calls for a continued focus on public and active transport, including $10m per year to upgrade cycling infrastructure, encouraging more commuters to cycle each day.

It also calls on the government to commit to publish actual spending on road maintenance each year, and report on the star-rating improvements made across the regional network.

To view RAA’s full State Budget Submission, visit click here