$1.5b infrastructure stimulus to improve quality of major highways

ROAD FUNDS: The Dukes and Riddoch Highways will receive targeted pavement treatments, shoulder sealing and safety enhancements.
ROAD FUNDS: The Dukes and Riddoch Highways will receive targeted pavement treatments, shoulder sealing and safety enhancements.

South East residents rely heavily on the use of the Dukes and Riddoch Highways, whether it be for work or personal travel.

Thanks to a new $1.5 billion Federal Government infrastructure package, both highways will receive much needed funds to improve their overall safety.

The reason behind the stimulus package is to provide an immediate injection into the economy and bring jobs back online to help stem the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

One of two projects to receive funding in the Barker electorate, the Dukes and Riddoch Highways will get targeted pavement treatments, shoulder sealing and safety enhancements.

With many safety concerns being directed at the Riddoch Highway for a number of years, recent upgrades have gone a long way to making the road safe for many.

One of the major projects undertaken has been the $13 million southern bypass at Penola that was constructed in 2015, and the completion of the $14.6 million northern bypass this year.

Overtaking lanes between Keith and Naracoorte, as well as Naracoorte and Penola are also one of the main priorities for the highway in the future.

The Dukes Highway has had it's fair of fatal crashes last year, contributing to the state's worst year on the roads since 2010, with 113 people losing their lives on the SA roads in 2019.

Federal Member for Barker Tony Pasin said getting shovels in the ground on local construction projects was important for maintaining jobs and economic growth.

"Every single job that we support makes a huge difference in our local communities - now and as we navigate out of the pandemic," Mr Pasin said.

He stated that these type of infrastructure projects will allow the country to bounce back quickly from the pandemic and deliver safe transport connections in the South East.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the stimulus package will be a boost for local jobs.

"$1 billion of this package will fund projects that can get underway now and over the next six months, to give an immediate boost to the economy and local jobs - right at the time we need it," he said.

"The government has already announced $500 million for local governments to support projects such as road safety improvements, maintaining community infrastructure and increasing accessibility."

The $500 million for local governments will allow them to deliver targeted projects in their area.