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Two-way argument over Main South Road duplication

A group of southern residents have criticised a planned major upgrade of Main South Road at Aldinga and Sellicks Beach as “an expensive sledgehammer to crack a quite small nut” – but another community lobby group has welcomed the entire project as long overdue.

Feb 03, 2023, updated Feb 03, 2023
A concept image for the proposed realignment of Aldinga and Aldinga Beach Road. Image: SA Government

A concept image for the proposed realignment of Aldinga and Aldinga Beach Road. Image: SA Government

In a letter to Transport Minister Tom Koutstantonis, residential group The Friends of Willunga Basin (FOWB) aired it’s ‘fundamental concerns’ with the project, slated to duplicate the road and realign the Aldinga Beach Road and Sellicks Beach Road intersections.

An underpass at the intersection of Main South Road with Aldinga Road and Aldinga Beach Road would also be built, as would two U-turns to ensure local access in addition to the Aldinga interchange.

The letter sent by the group on December 21 said the project was “as an extraordinary waste of money and resources in both the proposed grade separation of South Road at the intersection at Aldinga/Aldinga Beach Roads and its full duplication beyond this”.

“We accept the need for the upgrade of South Road from Aldinga to Sellicks Beach, but not in this form,” the group wrote.

“FOWB says the design, both overall and for stage two, uses an expensive sledgehammer to crack a quite small nut and, among other things, is completely at odds with the character of the region.”

The group also questioned whether the current traffic in the area warranted such a large upgrade.

Photo: Tony Lewis/InDaily

FOWB chair Geoff Hayter said the $125 million project was not currently pedestrian or cyclist friendly.

“As they build these roads, they’re four lanes, they have barriers down the middle of concrete or steel ropes and they’re 100 kilometres an hour,” he said.

“Pedestrians and cyclists are not welcome to cross over. That’s not how they’re designed.

“We’re saying for the regional infrastructure and tourism you need to be able to cross east-west at certain points through Willunga Basin.”

Hayter said the design would damage the character of the region and that the underpasses at Aldinga and Port Road were unnecessarily large.

“Originally in the plans we saw 12 or 18 months ago we had a big roundabout and a tunnel under South Road and then all of a sudden out of the blue without consultation we have this ‘Gallipoli underpass’”

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“This road is going to be eight lanes wide at an enormous scale. The Aldinga Road intersection covers close to 30 acres, it’s enormous.”

But another community lobby, the Main South Road Action Group, said the upgrade would be welcomed by most residents in the area.

“We don’t believe it’s too big, we’ve been campaigning for six years and two months,” group chair Craig Curtis said.

“What these people at Willunga have got to remember is that this road isn’t for them, it’s for the entire Fleurieu Peninsula, it’s not just for people at Sellicks and Aldinga.

“We represent everybody in the community that wants that road. There’s a small minority that don’t.”

The state government expects major construction on the project to start late this year, with a completion date set for 2026.

Mawson Labor MP Leon Bignell said he had met with the Friends of Willunga Basin about their concerns.

“The restoration of the full duplication was an important commitment that Labor took to last year’s state election, and overwhelmingly people voted in favour of our solution rather than the substandard Liberal proposal,” he said.

“I will continue to work with the Friends of Willunga Basin to see if some of the scale can be reduced in places without compromising the design and to ensure we maximise the east-west corridors for cyclists and pedestrians.”

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