Semi-trailer ban for Hahndorf main street

The state government will ban trucks longer than 15m from Hahndorf’s busy main street to address concerns about heavy vehicle traffic through the Hills tourist town, as a longer-term road bypass solution remains up in the air.

Aug 24, 2023, updated Aug 24, 2023
Hahndorf's main street, Mount Barker Road, has become a thoroughfare for trucks and heavy vehicles to the dismay of local residents and commuters. Photo: Tony Lewis/InDaily

Hahndorf's main street, Mount Barker Road, has become a thoroughfare for trucks and heavy vehicles to the dismay of local residents and commuters. Photo: Tony Lewis/InDaily

Transport Minister Tom Koutsantonis today announced that all non-local semi-trailers, pig and dog trailers over 15-metres in length will be banned from passing through Hahndorf’s main street – Mount Barker Road – from November 1.

Trucks will instead be diverted onto Strathalbyn Road and River Road in a move the state government says will stop 130 heavy vehicles moving through Hahndorf each day.

River Road – which runs through mainly large rural blocks between Mount Barker Road and Strathalbyn Road – will also receive a number of upgrades so it can handle an influx of heavy vehicle traffic.

Exemptions to the Hahndorf semi-trailer ban will be in place for trucks delivering to local businesses and homes for renovation/construction. There will also be exemptions for trucks that are taking freight to destinations they can’t reach by any other route.

Hahndorf main street

All non-local semi-trailers will be banned from using Hahndorf’s main street from November 1. Photo: Tony Lewis/InDaily

The semi-trailer ban comes after the Malinauskas Government last year scrapped plans for a freight bypass via an interchange on the South Eastern Freeway near Hahndorf, amid concern over property acquisitions around Paechtown and the Beerenberg farm.

Local residents have since advocated for the government to revisit a bypass, with a petition on the matter garnering more than 2500 signatures.

Koutsantonis told a community forum on Wednesday that the state government would “continue looking at a bypass in Hahndorf to see whether or not we can come up with another way of minimising the traffic”.

Hahndorf trucks

Locals have raised concerns about large trucks passing through Hahndorf’s main street. Photo: Real Hahndorf Community Traffic Consultation/Facebook

The Transport Minister said today that the semi-trailer ban is a “decisive interim measure”.

“We agree that trucks with logs and livestock shouldn’t be using this town hub as a thoroughfare, and we have devised an alternative solution that can be delivered at a significantly lower cost, with no disruptive property acquisitions and no impact on Paechtown or the iconic Beerenberg Farm,” he said in a statement.

“While there will always be a need for some trucks to use the Main Street for local deliveries, this ban will get all non-local large heavy vehicles off the town’s central strip.

“The campaign for a bypass has been a divisive one in the local community, and we are confident that this simple, elegant solution will satisfy all sides.”

Koutsantonis said he would talk with Mount Barker District Council to investigate how to implement the semi-trailer ban “as soon as possible”.

“More may need to be done in the longer term to address traffic issues in Hahndorf, but this is a decisive interim measure that means we can rid Main Street of larger trucks, straight away,” he said.

Under the state government’s new plan, the turn off from Mount Barker Road to River Road, where the Sidewood Estate winery is located, will be upgraded, as will the intersection of River Road and Strathalbyn Road.

River Road will also receive shoulder sealing and tree trimming upgrades as well as improvements to intersections that run along it, including Kangaroo Reef Road and Sawmill Road.

The state government says the semi-trailer ban will be policed and signage saying “No Trucks Over 15m in Length” will be installed.

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The impact of the ban will be monitored while longer-term solutions are explored.

Mount Barker Road is a main Hills thoroughfare that cuts through Hahndorf and connects Verdun and other Hills towns to Totness, Mount Barker and Echunga.

But there is a lack of an exit from Hahndorf to the freeway uptrack or an entry to the town via the freeway downtrack.

The problem has led to an influx of heavy vehicles running through the popular Hills tourist town, which welcomes around one million visitors each year.

A 2021 government-commissioned study estimated that 480 commercial vehicles – 90 per cent of which are heavy vehicles – pass through Hahndorf’s main street each day.

The intersection of River Road and Mount Barker Road, next to Sidewood Estate, has been earmarked for an upgrade. Image: Google Maps

In July 2023, the state government approved lowering the speed limit through the town to 40km/h to improve safety.

It is also pursuing upgrades to create a full interchange at Verdun – located to the west of Hahndorf – and improvements to the existing Mount Barker interchange further up the freeway.

The original $250m funding package for the Hahndorf Township Improvements and Access Upgrade – split 80/20 between the federal and state governments – is currently under review by the Commonwealth.

“I’m hoping that the Commonwealth Government when they announce the outcome of that review we can continue this work and upgrade,” Koutsantonis told Wednesday’s community forum.

“I think Verdun and Mount Barker (upgrades) will take traffic, heavy vehicles off the main street, this (the semi-trailer ban) will guarantee it.

“So it’s not the full solution, but it is a big part of the solution.”

Opposition transport spokesperson Vincent Tarzia labelled the semi-trailer ban a “band-aid over a bullet hole” and called for answers from the federal government’s infrastructure review.

“We understand the need to divert heavy vehicles around the township of Hahndorf but this is just a band-aid over a bullet hole when the best solution – the Hahndorf Bypass Project – is on the chopping block after being under review for more than 90 days,” Tarzia said in a statement.

“Federal Labor promised to review the project and others and provide an answer after 90 days. Well that 90 days was up at the start of August, and we still have no clarity or answers on the future of the project.

“Tom Koutsantonis has been forced into submission by the local community and his decision to ban heavy vehicles from Hahndorf is a clear sign the much-needed bypass project won’t ever go ahead. Clearly Labor is still figuring out how to break the news to the community, who will be frustrated and angry.”

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