The Stuart Highway, the crucial freight corridor that links Adelaide to Darwin, partially reopened on 6 February, with traffic flowing through the flooded highway at Glendambo. 

Although water remains on the road, the crucial travel route – reconnecting the vital north-south freight link – has been declared safe for truck use during daylight hours.

As water continues to recede, it is anticipated the highway will reopen to high clearance 4WD vehicles early in the week and may open to all transport later in the week under restricted traffic management conditions.

South Australian Premier, Steven Marshall, said strict conditions would be applied along the 600m section of highway, with only one truck permitted to use the section at a time with a 20km/h speed limit.

“We’ve been working hard with emergency services to reopen the highway as soon as possible, but we need to do it in a safe way that will not damage the road further,” Mr Marshall said. 

“There is still a huge amount of clean up work to be done but we are relieved to reopen the highway and see the community gradually transit through.

“As we continue this work, we await an answer from the Federal Government to our request for disaster support in South Australia and we are hopeful of a response early next week.”

South Australian Deputy Premier, and Member for Stuart, Dan van Holst Pellekaan, said more than 36t of emergency supplies have been airdropped to the Coober Pedy community by the Australian Defence Force.

“The staged reopening of the highway this morning is great news for the local community as well as the trucking industry, pastoralists and stranded travellers,” Mr van Holst Pellekaan said. 

“We know this has been an incredibly difficult time for people impacted by the floods and those who are counting down the seconds until they can be reunited with loved ones.

“Although the reopening plan is dependent on the floodwaters receding an assessment of the road condition, we are confident the road should be open to all traffic under speed restriction – with flow in both directions – by the end of the week.”

South Australian Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Corey Wingard, said the State Government is working closely with other agencies, including local councils, to repair and reopen roads.

“We have been working as quickly as possible to rectify the damage caused by our fourth wettest January on record and flash flooding across regional South Australia,” Mr Wingard said.

“Large sections of the state’s sealed and unsealed road network have been impacted, and we are working to prioritise roads for repair and reopening. Roads that support the transport of essential supplies, commodities and services to the community and industry will be fast-tracked for restoration.

“But we won’t compromise community or industry safety by reopening roads before they are ready.”

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