26 April 2016
Topics: Darlington Upgrade sod turning
Stephen Mullighan: Very happy to be here today with Federal Minister for Major Projects Paul Fletcher turning the first sod on the Darlington Upgrade Project. This is a $620 million project which will deliver much better travel times for people living in the South of Adelaide, particularly in Mitchell Park, in Tonsley and Bedford Park but also all of those other suburbs which have been rapidly expanding over the last 10 years, further along both Main South Road and the Southern Expressway. This project will deliver a 3.3 kilometre improvement to the North South Corridor, a lowered motorway underneath Flinders Drive, underneath Sturt Road and also bypassing Ayliffes Road, this is an important part of the North South Corridor strategy which has been developed between the State and the Federal Government in recent times and of course we're very pleased that this is three- one of three major projects which we are delivering concurrently on the North South Corridor along with the Torrens to Torrens Project and the Northern Connector Project and together, these three projects are supporting about 1500 jobs under construction and that is a huge boost to the South Australian economy.
I'm very pleased to say as well that through a really good robust competitive tendering process as we previously discussed, we've managed to extend this project a further intersection past Ayliffes Road and I'm very pleased that with both governments focussing on delivering improvements to the South Australian economy there will be a heavy focus, not just on local jobs but on local materials including Arrium steel and this project will see in excessive of 15,000 tonnes of reinforcing steel used on this project and working very closely with South Australian industry to make sure that that steel is sourced from Arrium. I now welcome Minister Fletcher to make a few comments from the Federal Government's perspective.
Paul Fletcher: Well, thank you very much Minister Stephen Mullighan. I'm very pleased to be here with Stephen Mullighan, the South Australian Minister for Transport and Infrastructure at this important event, the sod turning on the Darlington Project. This is a very significant project, $620 million, 80 per cent funded by the Commonwealth Government, 20 per cent funded by the South Australian Government. And this is the two governments working together to deliver a vital piece of infrastructure for South Australia. Of course, this is just one of several projects as Minister Mullighan has mentioned along the North South Corridor. In fact in total, the Turnbull Government has committed nearly $3 billion to infrastructure projects working with the South Australian Government and this is the Turnbull Government backing Adelaide, backing South Australia. Infrastructure is enormously important.
Just going to repeat that observation, infrastructure is enormously important, not just because- as Minister Mullighan has rightly said—because it creates many jobs and substantial investment with downstream economic effects but also because of the productivity and efficiency benefits. It's so important as we work to boost jobs and growth in Australia that we are making our economy competitive and efficient, and world class infrastructure is part of that. So, people in the southern suburbs of Adelaide can get to work and back quickly and efficiently, so freight can move quickly around the metropolitan area, so that we relieve congestion so that Adelaide remains an extremely pleasant and liveable city, and all of these are strong economic reasons [inaudible] very substantial [inaudible] that the Turnbull Government has made, to the Darlington project and to the other projects like the North South Corridor and including the Torrens to Torrens and the [inaudible].
Question:Are you kind of regretting making this announcement today while your boss is announcing many thousands of jobs at the other end of town?
Paul Fletcher:Well, it's obviously important that this project get on as quickly as it can but it just also demonstrates how strongly the Turnbull Government is backing Adelaide and backing South Australia, that we've got different announcements occurring today.
Question: It's also about the election, though, isn't it and we've got an election coming up pretty soon. The southern suburbs are all marginal electorates around here. How much are you hoping that this will win you some votes?
Paul Fletcher: What this is about is delivering the best possible infrastructure for Adelaide. When you have a sod turning as we do today, that reflects many, many months of cumulative work to get to this point of the Turnbull Government working with the South Australian Government, of governments getting on and doing what our citizens expect which is to deliver infrastructure that will build jobs and build growth. That's what we're doing today. Today's an important milestone in a project that's been underway for a significant period of time.
Question:Okay, you mentioned before there was three major road projects going on at the moment, do you think you're testing the patience of drivers in Adelaide at the moment with so many roadworks going on?
Stephen Mullighan: Well, look, all of the contractors working across these three projects as well as the Transport Department are working incredibly hard to keep traffic flows going, it's a condition of these contracts during peak hour we keep lanes open and we try and minimise the number of speed restrictions that we have. There will be some inconvenience to motorists from time to time, that's natural with roadworks of this magnitude but the key is making sure we're doing everything we can to get people moving around our community as easily as possible, that's why some of the simple things like what we announced last week with the new AdInsight traffic app gives people real time information for how the network's performing, gives them the opportunity perhaps to take another route if they can travel from where they're coming from to where they're going a bit more quickly.
Question:As of tomorrow morning, motorists won't be able to turn right at the intersection of the Port Road and the South Road. Can you tell me the impact that's going to have on traffic flow?
Stephen Mullighan: Sure, so that'll be happening from after peak hour tomorrow. So we'll be removing, as part of the Torrens to Torrens Project, the right hand turns from the South Road into Port Road and instead there'll be a different traffic movement for those people into the future but this is about making sure that particularly during peak hour when in the past it's taken five, six or even seven changes of lights for some people to be able to turn right from South Road into Port Road, they can do that much more quickly, both during construction but also after the project's been delivered.
We'd encourage motorists to follow the directional signs that will be out from tomorrow after peak hour as we make that traffic change, and have a look at the information that we'll be putting out, both from the Transport Department's social media, but also the T2T Alliance website about exactly how that's worked. We've noticed that with the traffic switch for Grange Road, Manton Street, and South Road that we did a couple of weeks ago, getting that extra information out via social media up on the web, YouTube videos to give people information about how it's going to work from each direction, that's helped people enormously. And look, for all motorists, after driving through perhaps a little more tentatively the first time, they quickly become confident with how the new arrangements work; they can continue to use this intersection and get good service out of the roads into the future.
Question: So if they can't turn right, what's the arrangement now?
Stephen Mullighan: So, we've instituted at North East Road and Sudholz Road intersection, there will be an alternative movement at Port Road and South Road. We'll be asking people to turn left onto Port Road from South Road and then do a U-turn in the medium. That can accommodate both cars and trucks, and it means we can get people through this intersection on average with one change of lights rather than the five, six or seven times it was taking during the peak hour previously.
Question:And is that down Kings Street, or is that further along before they do the U-turn?
Stephen Mullighan:No, it won't be on any of the existing side streets. These will be new turning facilities in the middle of Port Road. It's got a wide medium in there both north and south of the South Road intersection. So a new turning movement, a new roadway, has being constructed over the past weeks at Port Road, new traffic lights installed to control those traffic movements by traffic signals. So if people follow the signs they should get through this intersection much more quickly on average, and much more safely than what has been the experience of peak hour in the past.
Question: And just on the subs, your electorate would be particularly affected by that. I imagine you're pretty pleased about today.
Stephen Mullighan: Well this is a great thing for the whole of the South Australian economy, not just the entire build of 12 submarines, but the future [inaudible] here in South Australia. But for me as a local member, as it is for Susan Close as Member for Port Adelaide, this is a great thing for the Lefevre Peninsula. There are hundreds, if not thousands of people who are involved either directly or indirectly with ship-building in our communities. This is a great thing for those communities, but also for the rest of South Australia, as well as all of those suppliers and component manufacturers who exist across Australia. So this is a great announcement that we've got today from the Federal Government. We welcome it and wholeheartedly support it, and we look forward to reaping the benefits for the South Australian economy in the years to come.