Major upgrade to SA's national freight routes

An upgrade of three major highways will improve the safety and reliability of national freight routes in South Australia.

More than 3,200 heavy vehicles a day use the Stuart, Augusta, and Dukes highways, which are vital transport corridors for freight crossing the nation. About half of those vehicles are B-doubles and road trains.

The upgrades will also improve freight productivity by reducing travel times for the delivery of goods to businesses and the community, as well as reducing operating costs for commercial vehicles.

Initial works have started on the Stuart Highway, near the Northern Territory border, and along the Dukes Highway. Other works along Port Wakefield Highway between Adelaide and Port Wakefield and on Augusta Highway around Port Augusta, will also be undertaken as part of $30 million in upgrades occurring this financial year.

Planning for the remaining program is progressing, with other works being considered including intersection upgrades, overtaking lanes, rest areas and targeted safety treatments. In total, $500 million has been committed towards the upgrades, with the Australian Government committing $400 million and the South Australian Government committing $100 million.

The Australian Government’s contribution is part of the $1.5 billion National Freight Highway Upgrade Program – a 2022-23 October Budget commitment to seal the Tanami Track in Northern Territory and Western Australia, as well as upgrading other nationally significant freight routes, including the Dukes, Stuart and Augusta highways, and Central Arnhem Road in the Northern Territory.

Quotes attributable to Federal Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government Minister Catherine King:

“The pandemic has taken its toll on Australia’s supply chain over the last three years, making it vital we invest in measures to keep our freight drivers moving, with safety always the top priority.

“These upgrades will also deliver reduced travel times for our truckies, ensuring a more efficient, smoother journey from the farmgate to wholesalers, retailers and on to consumers.

“Resilient and reliable transport is the backbone of the nation, and I am proud we are delivering this long-term project, which will essentially benefit all Australians.”

Quotes attributable to SA Minister for Regional Roads Geoff Brock:

“The South Australian and Australian governments are continuing to work together to deliver better highways for the community.

“The Stuart, Augusta and Dukes are among are some of our busiest highways vital for tourist and emergency services and upgrading them will make our roads safer for all users.”