Hooray for Horrocks

Last week’s 2019-2020 Federal Budget delivered $44 million for the upgrade of Horrocks Highway, with the State Government announcing on Friday it would tip in an additional $11m for the fix.

The Federal Budget also committed $50m for the Barrier Highway, however the Augusta Highway between Port Wakefield and Port Augusta appears to have missed out.

Civil Contractors Federation chief executive Phil Sutherland said the omission of the Augusta Highway from the Federal Budget “beggars belief”.

“Another blatant failure to include urgently-needed funding for the Augusta Highway between Port Wakefield and Port Augusta beggars belief that in this day and age, arguably the most important regional road in the state remains a two lane, generally degraded road characterised by a patchwork of bitumen repairs, with a narrow bridge and a railway crossing,” he said.

“Full marks to the Federal Government for committing to the upgrade of the State’s other key freight corridors – Port Augusta to Perth, Cockburn to Burra and Renmark to Gawler – but the Augusta Highway, the road that really needs to be top of the list, perplexingly didn’t make the cut in 2019.

“The duplication would cost in the vicinity of $1.2 billion but would deliver a much safer road and an economic return to SA many times that figure.”

With other local road projects successful in gaining a funding commitment, Federal Member for Grey Rowan Ramsey said the Budget was good news for his constituents in Grey, with funding for Horrocks Highway a significant win.

On Friday, Mr Ramsey met with State Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Local Government Stephan Knoll alongside Horrocks Highway near Roseworthy.

Mr Ramsey reported after the meeting that Minister Knoll had “announced the State will tip in another $11m” into the upgrade of the road.

In a video post following the meeting, Minister Knoll said “the State and Federal Government’s together are putting $55m on the table to fix this road.”

The highway from Gawler through to the Southern Flinders has previously been ranked the worst regional road in SA by the RAA – with the 91 km stretch from Gawler to Clare of particular focus.

The stretch of road carries up to 6300 vehicles daily, and from 2012, has seen 74 crashes on the section from Gawler to Clare, with four deaths and 109 injuries.

“This budget contains terrific support for infrastructure in Grey and I am pleased my efforts to bring these issues to the fore have been recognised with good funding commitments,” he said.

“Road funding in Grey is receiving a huge shot in the arm with an increase of more than $10m for councils through the Roads to Recovery Program over five years. I am particularly pleased $40m over two years has been allocated for the continuation of the Supplementary Roads Program for local councils.

“The allocation of $44m to upgrade the Horrocks Highway is something I have been advocating for since taking this area into my electorate. Similarly, I have been a strong advocate for an upgrade to the Barrier Hwy and now it will be a safer road with a funding injection of $50m.

“We have also announced funding of $800,000 to upgrade Bratten Bridge on Southern Eyre Peninsula and $8.8m for the Dublin Saleyards Access.”

Mr Ramsey said under the Government’s plan, Grey families would benefit from safer local roads through the Government’s $2.2b Road Safety Package, targeting black spots and council road improvements.

• Pictured: Federal member for Grey, Rowan Ramsey and State Minister for Transport, Stephan Knoll last Friday.