Riverland highways are in need of critical maintenance according to Australian Conservatives MLC Robert Brokenshire.
He’s told The Murray Pioneer newspaper that a billion-dollar backlog means critical maintenance to a long list of Riverland roads could take years to complete.
Freedom of Information (FOI) documents obtained by the Australian Conservatives have revealed hundreds of jobs that need to be completed on South Australia’s regional roads, including at least a dozen works in the Riverland listed as ‘critical’.
Bookpurnong Road – between Berri and Loxton (pictured above) – was cited in the document, 2020/21, however an estimated completion date is yet to be confirmed.
A number of locations along the Sturt Highway have also been identified for critical work, including between 21st Street and 23rd Street in Renmark and a section of road 5 kilometres east of Monash.
Mr Brokenshire said repairs listed as critical should be priority, but those works were still delayed.
“We don’t want people dying on our roads or being injured because the Government have identified critical road maintenance and are not doing anything for three years.”
The documents also reveal that repairs along some of the state’s rural roads could take until 2032 to be completed.
Mr Brokenshire claimed Labor had abandoned road maintenance, with the backlog, which was estimated to be about $104 million in 2004, now in the billions of dollars.
“I have confirmation from the Minister for Road Safety (Chris Picton) that the cost to fix the problem is estimated in the billions, and it would take decades for safety infrastructure upgrades to be completed,” he said.
In a letter to Mr Brokenshire, Mr Picton wrote that the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure (DPTI) advised “that in order to reduce road trauma by 20 per cent on rural roads, we would need to spend billions of dollars over many decades to complete safety infrastructure upgrades to all of our state-maintained roads”.
Mr Brokenshire said South Australian roads had been neglected under the current State Government.
“(FOI) documents show time frames for fixing roads has blown out, with problems not being addressed for up to 20 years,” he said.
“Ignoring road maintenance causes it to accumulate and puts all road users’ lives at risk.”