SA’s ‘worst grain road’ to be fixed under safety upgrades

A regional truck route dubbed “an accident waiting to happen” is among a host of rough South Australian roads to be upgraded with new funding.

Mar 19, 2024, updated Mar 19, 2024
RM Williams Way in the state's Mid North will be upgraded, along with a Yorke Peninsula road dubbed SA's "Worst Grain Road" for trucks. Photo:

RM Williams Way in the state's Mid North will be upgraded, along with a Yorke Peninsula road dubbed SA's "Worst Grain Road" for trucks. Photo:

In December, $168 million of funding was approved for the improvement of regional South Australian roads, with $84 million each coming from the South Australian and Australian governments.

Upgrades were today announced for roads in the Yorke Peninsula, Murraylands, Mid North, Eyre Peninsula and Fleurieu Peninsula.

After years of lobbying from Grain Producers SA, improvements have been announced to Upper Yorke Road, a regular route for vehicles during harvest.

Work will be done on two sections of the road: 35 kilometres between Kulpara and Arthurton, and 25 kilometres between Port Broughton and Bute. Roadworks are expected to begin in May, with a proposed completion time of 2025.

Grain Producers SA CEO Brad Perry said the works were “vital for ensuring our $4 billion crop can get to port efficiently and safely”, having previously referred to the road between Kulpara and Arthurton as “an accident waiting to happen”.

“GPSA worked with the RAA, which surveyed the Upper Yorke Road – Arthurton to Kulpara – and found that 90 per cent of the route received a one-star safety rating,” Perry said.

“The announcement of critical funding for Grain Producers SA’s number one Worst Grain Road – Upper Yorke Road Arthurton to Kulpara – is a huge win for safety and productivity.”

Perry said two years of GPSA lobbying to fix that and other poorly-maintained roads had paid off, and that there were “bike paths in Adelaide in much better condition”.

Improvements have also been announced for RM Williams Way between Jamestown and Spalding in the Mid North, and a 65 kilometre stretch of the Mallee Highway between Tailem Bend and Geranium.

Works on RM Williams Way are expected to commence in May, while works on Mallee Highway are set to begin in April, all expected to finish in 2025.

Perry said the Mallee Highway was also listed in GPSA’s Top 10 Worst Grain Roads as voted by grain producers.”

Grain Producers SA last year released photos of roads it said needed upgrading, including Naracoorte Rd at Bordertown (left) and Upper Yorke Rd, Arthurton to Kulpara (right).

Additional works on South Australian roads set to begin in 2024 under the program include on Thiele Highway (Kapunda to Eudunda), Main South Road (Sellicks Beach to Second Valley), and along the Lincoln Highway (Whyalla to Cowell, Cowell to Lipson, and Lipson to Tumby Bay).

Road improvements will include shoulder sealing, curve widening, installing safety barriers, removing hazards, and laying audio tactile line markings.

The roadworks are expected to support approximately 305 jobs throughout construction.

The National Road Safety Program is also focussing on improving the safety of pedestrians and other people using the roads, through infrastructure such as crossings, safety upgrades at intersections, and improvements to walkways.

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