Government

$168m investment announced to improve road safety in SA

A new $168 million investment in road safety funding will help to save lives by improving regional and urban roads, footpaths and cycleways.

The State Government of South Australia has announced a significant $168 million investment aimed at enhancing road safety, a move that is expected to save lives and reduce accidents across the state’s regional and urban areas, with the funding focusing on improving roads, footpaths, and cycleways.

This investment comes at a critical time, as South Australia has witnessed a concerning rise in road tolls, with 109 fatalities already recorded this year.

In response, the Malinauskas Government has pledged to match the $84 million commitment from the Commonwealth under the Road Safety Program, bringing the total joint funding to $168 million. This is in addition to the $98 million allocated in the 2023-24 State Budget, cumulatively amounting to $266 million over five years.

The funds will be directed towards substantial regional works, including shoulder sealing, audio-tactile line markings, delineation, roadside barriers, lane and curve widening, and pavement works. These enhancements aim to upgrade regional roads to a minimum 3-star safety rating. The specific projects and locations are currently being developed and will be finalized throughout 2024.

Notably, approximately half of this year’s road fatalities have occurred in regional areas, highlighting the urgent need for these improvements. The Road Safety Program also emphasises the safety of pedestrians and cyclists, with plans for new crossings, intersection upgrades, and strategic bikeway improvements. Special attention will be given to enhancing the safety of school routes.

State Treasurer Stephen Mullighan expressed his views on the investment.

‘This major investment targets regional roads, where about half of all road fatalities have occurred in SA this year, as well as cycling and walking infrastructure across Adelaide and the state. I am pleased to see the state and federal governments working together to improve road safety, and I look forward to seeing which projects are given the green light in the new year’, said Mullighan.

Geoff Brock, Minister for Regional Roads, emphasised the impact of these improvements on the freight industry, enhancing truck drivers’ working conditions and ensuring safer journeys.

‘These improvements will also make a world of difference for our freight industry, enhancing truck drivers’ working conditions and ensuring safer journeys.’

Joe Szakacs, Minister for Police and Emergency Services, highlighted the broader community impact, noting, ‘Safer roads mean safer communities and safer journeys for locals and visitors. After a tragic year for fatalities, it is more crucial than ever to improve our regional and urban roads and cycleways to ensure they are as safe as possible.’

From the federal perspective, Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Carol Brown commented, ‘The Australian Government is doing its bit by partnering with the South Australian Government to roll out life-saving road safety projects across the state.’

She also welcomed the extra funding as a step towards achieving the Vision Zero target—’zero deaths and serious injuries on our roads by 2050.’

Charles Mountain from RAA (Royal Automobile Association) praised the investment, stating, ‘The additional $168 million is a welcome investment to improve road safety, especially in our regions and for vulnerable road users.’ He also expressed satisfaction with the focus on improving the star ratings of roads and prioritising projects that protect vulnerable road users.

This comprehensive investment by the State Government marks a proactive step towards enhancing road safety in South Australia, emphasising reducing fatalities and injuries in both regional and urban areas.

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