The South Australian Government has allocated $40 million in funding towards the $200 million duplication of the Joy Baluch AM Bridge in Port Augusta.

The bridge is a link in the National Land Transport Network and national tourist routes, and is a vital crossing for the Spencer Gulf township.

The existing bridge is almost 50 years old and provides one lane in each direction.

The duplication will include widening the approach roads to allow for two lanes in both directions between Mackay St (south of the bridge) and Burgoyne St (north of the bridge).

It will also improve freight efficiency and safety for all road users and pedestrians. It will also improve access in the case of an emergency or accident.

Consistent with other projects located on the National Land Transport Network, the $200 million duplication is proposed to be funded on an 80:20 basis, with the South Australian Government committing $40 million towards the project and seeking a contribution of $160 million from the Federal Government.

The Joy Baluch AM Bridge is part of the 14,500km National Highway One and provides a critical Spencer Gulf crossing for Port Augusta.

It is a squeeze point along the highway as most of the remainder of Highway One through Port Augusta has duplicated carriageways.

The Great Western Bridge is under the care and control of the Port Augusta City Council and had to be closed because the council did not maintain it to a suitable standard.

Following the closure, the South Australian Government has undertaken measures to improve safety on the Joy Baluch AM Bridge including:

  • Providing a pedestrian refuge on the western side – to provide additional safety for pedestrian and cyclist traffic accessing the bridge footpath via the Augusta Highway
  • Line marking – to provide a buffer to the vertical kerb on the bridge structure
  • Hand rails and ramps
  • Introducing a 40km/h speed limit for all vehicles

Lighting and further signage upgrades are expected to be completed by the end of 2017,, together with another road lighting upgrade for the nearby Eyre and Stuart highway junction.

South Australian Minister for Transport and Infrastructure, Stephen Mullighan, said the duplication of the Joy Baluch Bridge will provide greater certainty for the national freight network and help to make it more efficient.

“Duplicating the bridge will remove some of the constraints that currently force some heavy vehicles to detour via the unsealed Yorkeys Crossing, which can be closed during wet periods,” Mr Mullighan said.

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