Parties quiet on road funding

Leith Jenkins OAM, of Riverton, kneels atop one of the four big stumps just north of Templers he feels poses a threat to drivers' safety.
Leith Jenkins OAM, of Riverton, kneels atop one of the four big stumps just north of Templers he feels poses a threat to drivers' safety.

The poster boy for South Australia's failing rural roads continues to be neglected by both levels of government.

Despite being a talking point over numerous years, Horrocks Highway had again been pushed to the background as politicians ramp up their funding commitments in the lead up to this year's federal election.

In the space of three days late last week, both federal Liberal and Labor parties pledged funding for work on South Road.

Federal opposition leader Bill Shorten was in Adelaide on Friday to pledge $1.2 billion, which was followed up by an announcement on Sunday by state and federal Liberal party members.

Premier Steven Marshall and federal Infrastrucutre Minister Alan Tudge pledged $35 million for work on the same section of road.

Horrocks Hwy was also left off the Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities infrastructure priority list for 2019 upon its release last month.

Northern Argus contacted Shadow Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development Anthony Albanese regarding the Party's stance on Horrocks Hwy.

Asked if a Labor government would commit funding to upgrade the stretch of road, a spokesman for Mr Albanese said their "primary focus" would be on the National Land Transport Network.

Horrocks Hwy is not part of the Network.

Liberal MP for Grey and government whip Rowan Ramsey said he had maintained a dialogue with state Transport Minister Stephan Knoll about the condition of the Horrocks Hwy.

“The Federal Government’s Roads of Strategic Importance program has been created to ensure our key freight roads can be maintained and upgraded to improve productivity and efficiency,” he said.

“I have spoken extensively to my State colleagues and encouraged State Minister Stefan Knoll to apply for funding under this Federal program to invest in the Horrocks Hwy. My understanding is he has done that.”

In July last year, Mr Knoll announced $2.5 million in funding for undulation works north of Roseworthy.  

Rehabilitation works near Yacka and Brinkworth were also announced.

Preliminary works on the section between Collinsfield Road and Stonecutter Road were completed in October.

Road widening and pavement construction were started later that month.​

“Despite this funding, I’ve been encouraging the State Minister to seek further support through the Roads of Strategic Importance program and I’m fully supportive of a two-way funding deal,” Mr Ramsey said.

“I’m lobbing the Federal Government hard to support any application regarding the Horrock’s Highway.”