The Port Wakefield duplication and overpass project is currently on track and on budget, according to Transport Minister Corey Wingard.
The minister was on site in Port Wakefield after completing a tour of the state’s infrastructure projects currently underway in the Mid North region, stopping along the way in the Clare Valley, Balaklava main street, Owen Swimming Pool, Port Augusta, Port Pirie and Orroroo.
The Copper Coast Highway overpass is partially complete, currently stretched over a dirt road, which will soon have asphalt laid down and traffic directed onto it.
Builders CPB Contractors anticipate in a month’s time the other half of the overpass will be duplicated.
While the minister couldn’t comment on specific matters regarding road work disruptions to community members and truck driver concerns about U-turns to drive northbound from Balaklava, he consistently emphasised the large infrastructure spend and extensive community consultation.
“The community engagement across all of this project has been of the highest order and we’ll continue to do that,” he said.
Emma Richards of Coyne Court, Port Wakefield told the Plains Producer that on Thursday, July 8, at about 8.30am the roadworks had blocked entry and exit of their road, which is also the Port Wakefield Golf Club carpark.
“My four-year-old daughter is at childcare and my son has just turned one, so if there’s an emergency I can’t get through,” Emma said.
The Richards family were taken by surprise by the blockage, stating they had no correspondence outlining the closure.
“We had a letter about a week ago outlining there was going to be roadworks for three months at the front of our place, but nothing stating they’re going to block the road.”
A spokesperson for the Department for Infrastructure and Transport stated that access to Coyne Court is available via a temporary access road on Balaklava Road and they have kept residents informed about works and changed traffic arrangements by undertaking door knocking and distributing a works notice.
“In addition, further traffic controls were required on Thursday, 8 July 2021, and Friday, 9 July 2021, to facilitate asphalt works,” the spokesperson said.
“These temporary changes may have resulted in short delays for Coyne Court residents; however, a traffic controller was on site to assist if required.”
“Local residents and the Port Wakefield Golf Club were also door knocked prior to these works commencing, to advise of the temporary access arrangements.”
The minister said that throughout road works there will be disruption and he wanted to work with the community.
“We know the end game is what we want to get to, where all these roads are improved for the betterment of the state and the people that live in that area, and where it is possible to work with those localised communities to make sure [disruption] is minimised at every turn.”
He highlighted the money roadworks inject into communities in regards to the workers staying at, eating in and buying from local businesses.