Ongoing complaints expressed by fed up motorists regarding “inconvenient” speed restrictions in place south of Port Wakefield have failed to be lifted – again.
Last week in state parliament Narungga MP Fraser Ellis requested the state government immediately ease the reduced speed restrictions – to a stretch upgraded road between Proof Range Road and Inkerman – which he believes are no longer required.
His response comes after receiving feedback from locals travelling to and from Adelaide who are mystified by the signage.
However, it seems safety remains paramount for the SA government and restrictions continue to remain in place.
“While I accept the principle of the department advising of a need for ‘road pavement to cure to ensure required traction is in place for vehicles’, I reject being advised that after more than two months the road material is not good enough for vehicles to do 110km/h on,” the MP stated.
Mr Ellis said he felt compelled to raise the topic again in parliament, questioning “how long does it take to ‘cure ’a new bitumen road?”
“I entirely understand the frustrations of road users, as week after week and month after month we travel at 80km/h or less on beautiful new roads,” he said.
Hansard excerpts from parliament, dated August 24, highlight Mr Ellis’ plea on behalf of his constituent to Infrastructure and Transport Minister Corey Windgard.
“Can the minister please advise the people of Narungga the status of the temporary speed restrictions along the Port Wakefield Road, immediately south of Port Wakefield?’’ Hansard revealed.
“This is causing enormous frustration to many residents of my electorate who travel along a brand new, perfectly sealed road at significantly less than the normal posted speed limit.”
A fed up Wakefield resident has also shared his irritation over the issue with the Plains Producer.
“The roadworks have been completed for some two months now and there are no workers or plant on site,” Andrew shared.
“Some sections of the south bound lanes have not been resurfaced so it begs the question, if they were safe at 110km/h before the road works started and have not been altered, why are they not safe at 110km/h now?,” he added.
In response, minister Wingard was quick to promote his recent visits to the site.
He further boasted how “fantastic” it was “to see the new bridge go up”, plus how he also viewed the new bypass.
While the minister did note some of the speed restrictions in place, he added, “I know that we have actually moved some regulations to make sure that any speed limits on any roadworks on any department or highways commissioner roads have to have the safest speed limit put in place”.
“If those works are not happening or if the speed limit can be put up to a safer speed limit, then that is done if there are no works happening. “
While no clear answer was provided, the minister did provide a lengthy explanation for the current speed limits in place.
“What I can tell the member is that there are times when a new surface, for example, may be laid down and that surface may take some time to cure, if you like, or it has to have a certain number of kilometres run over it and it is retested and recalibrated before the speed limit goes back up,” the minister shared.
“Likewise, line markings, audio tactile line markings, are other things that need to be considered as well.”
Furthermore, he said consideration is made for any entry and exit points of vehicles that are coming on and off that road as well around a site, such as this, where such extensive roadworks occur.
“… sometimes then the speed limits are reduced to make sure it is a safe environment,” the minister said.
To further prove his point, Mr Wingard added, “I think we (Nurrunga MP) have had a conversation about this a number of times”.
“I know that with the amount of work happening in the electorate of Narungga, on Yorke Peninsula in particular as well as this Port Wakefield project, people in his community would be feeling frustration when they see some speed restrictions.”
“I say to the people of Narungga and right across South Australia, when you are out there and see these speed signs and they see the speed restrictions and roadworks going on, you must understand that that is building infrastructure that matters to the people of South Australia.
“It is making our regional roads safer as well.”
Yet the minister added, while he is aware of some inconvenience, his lasting comment in parliament documented him saying that he is “more than happy” to have a look at any inconvenience that anyone has out there.
“Please let me know about it and we will look into it a little bit further, or you can contact the traffic information hotline.
Mr Ellis now urges locals to lodge their complaints and concerns about signs and any other traffic hazards you see, to the Road Transport Authority 1300 872 677 and to the department’s 24-hour Traffic Management Centre on 1800 018 313.