Over and under at Port Wakefield

Almost 100 people visited the Eagles Sports & Community Centre at Port Wakefield last Thursday evening to learn more about the proposed Port Wakefield Overpass and Highway Duplication.

The format for the information session, hosted by the Port Wakefield Overpass and Highway Duplication Project team, was of a more casual format, with DPTI project team members available for individual Q&A.

There were also print outs of aerial maps, allowing residents to gain a clearer understanding of the three concepts being put forward by DPTI.

The main things discussed were; an overpass at the intersection of Port Wakefield Road and Copper Coast Highway; a new roundabout and Balaklava Road connection; and duplication of Port Wakefield Road to four lanes through the Port Wakefield township, with some discussion also of a complete bypass.

Many residents were in favour of either an overpass or bypass, however some concerns raised included parking, safe crossings for pedestrians and safely turning right onto Port Wakefield Road from Balaklava Road.

Residents Neville and Heather Milton said it’s “about time” something was done.

“Heavy vehicles should be bypassed around town,” Neville said.

“We’ve counted the heavy vehicles going through the town at different times of the day.

“Between 8am and 9am on one particular day, 84 went through and only 12 stopped.”

Wendy Deinum outlined a few things that need more consideration.

“I’d prefer to see a bypass rather than an overpass, but there are things to consider included crossings and off-street parking,” she said.

“The school pick up is outside the Shell service station…there needs to be a safe place for the kids to cross – they’ll have to cross four lanes of traffic.”

“Emergency services access is another one,” Wendy said.

Scott Kelly also pointed out the crossing issue.

“How do pedestrians get from one side to the other?” he asked.

“They could put a set of traffic lights in to solve the crossing issue, but then it’d be stopping the flow of traffic.

“It’s definitely an issue that needs addressing,” he added.

“And how do people coming from Balaklava turn across four lanes of traffic?

Scott agreed with the parking problem the extra lanes would create.

“I actually wrote to a couple of ministers when the bypass was being discussed years ago.
“With a few businesses being up for sale at that time, land could have been purchased for parking then.”

Wendy Garvie, who gets around town on her gopher, said pedestrian safety is a must.

“I think they should put in two crossings, one at each end of town,” she said.

“It’s already difficult with just the two lanes – I’ve had to wait up to 10 minutes to cross on numerous occasions – I’d prefer lights to be honest.”

Fullarton resident, Geoff Phillips, ventured out to Port Wakefield for the information session.

Owning a shack at Wallaroo, Geoff travels through Port Wakefield numerous times a year, experiencing the traffic congestion, especially during holiday periods.

“I can’t understand why this hasn’t happened sooner,” Geoff commented.

“The government had the money to do this more than a decade ago.”

Plans were announced in 2007 by then federal treasurer, Peter Costello, for $1.56 billion of integrated road and rail network in South Australia under the Commonwealth AusLink 2 Program.

Included in this plan were upgrades to Port Wakefield Road and Port Wakefield to Adelaide.

Having already completed extensive consultation with the community, DPTI plans to keep communications open regarding the project.

Feedback from the concepts delivered at last Thursday night’s meeting will be addressed and revised as necessary, but at this stage, nothing is set in stone.

 

• Pictured: Residents Tom Robertson, Heather and Neville Milton look over the plans (Tom actually worked on the Port Wakefield highway 25 years ago). INSET:

Scott Kelly and Wendy Deinum chat about their concerns.

• Below: Concepts of the proposed plan for the overpass.