SA calls to divert funding for crossing upgrade

The South Australian Government is calling for funds to be diverted from the Northern Connector project to the Oaklands Crossing upgrade in Adelaide in order for the project to be fully funded.

The Oaklands Crossing upgrade aims to separate rail and road traffic as part of the state government’s Integrated Transport and Land Use Plan.

The Coalition indicated its support for the Oaklands Crossing upgrade during the Federal Election, promising $40 million towards the project.

However that figure falls well short of the true cost of the project, which is approximately $190 million depending on the engineering solution chosen.

The Northern Connector, a non-stop motorway connecting the Northern Expressway and South Road Links, was expected to cost $985 million, with $788 million provided by the Federal Government and $197 million from the State Government.

However, the project didn’t use all of its funding, partly due to competitive conditions in the construction industry, and this left $150 million which, if contributed towards the crossing upgrade, would bring the Oaklands project total available funding to $190 million.

South Australian Transport and Infrastructure Minister Stephen Mullighan said, “Level crossings can not only cause congestion and delays to motorists, they also pose potentially dangerous junctions where vehicles, trains and pedestrian can come to grief.

“That is why the State Government identified the Oaklands Crossing upgrade as a priority in our Integrated Transport and Land Use Plan.”

Member for Elder Annabel Digance said the upgrade will reduce congestion on surrounding roads, improve the commute for many who use this section of road as well as improve ease of access to the well-used SA Aquatic Centre.

“This is an important project for our southern suburbs community, not just in terms of travel times and traffic delays but also road safety,” Ms Digance said.

Mr Mullighan said the extra funds would enable the Oaklands Crossing upgrade to be delivered much sooner.

“We are already partnering with the Commonwealth on our top priority rail junction – the $238 million Torrens Junction project near Bowden – and now we want to extend that joint approach to the Oaklands Crossing,” Mr Mullighan said.

South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill said, “We want to partner with the Commonwealth to keep building South Australia, adding to the more than $2.5 billion of projects we are currently delivering together. This project is the obvious next step in that partnership.”

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