As the state and federal government continue to squabble over funding for the Joy Baluch AM Bridge duplication, it remains a distant speck in the landscape of Port Augusta’s infrastructure future.
In the mean time, all heavy traffic will continue to travel via Yorkeys Crossing – that is unless of course it’s been raining.
SA-Best leader Nick Xenophon said the unsealed road was the "laughing stock of the national road freight route" as it is regularly forced to close after heavy rain.
This forces dozens of vehicles – including B-doubles and semi-trailers – to park by the side of the road until it is able to reopen.
SA-Best have pledged a $10 million grant to Port Augusta City Council to upgrade Yorkeys Crossing to an all-weather access road if they win the balance of power in this month’s election.
The Weatherill Government has estimated it will cost about $60 million to fully seal the 27 kilometre ring route around Port Augusta – of which about 23 kilometres is the Council's responsibility.
Mr Xenophon labelled the detouring of both major parties on the issue as shameful.
"This upgrade will ensure a better quality road, stop the road from having to be closed after rainfall, provide better access for over dimensional loads and reduce dust impact on the nearby residents," Mr Xenophon said.
"For far too long, there has been nothing more than procrastination and pontification by both Labor and the Liberals instead of providing a workable solution to the problem.”
A government spokesperson maintained that Labor’s priority will continue to be duplicating the Joy Baluch AM Bridge.
Although the state government has already committed $40 million to the project, a funding agreement with its federal counterpart is yet to be reached.
With construction estimated to take up to two years, heavy traffic will continue to travel on Yorkeys Crossing into the foreseeable future.
Member for Stuart Dan van Holst Pellekaan said a state Liberal government is committed to finding a solution which incorporates the main bridge, the Great Western Bridge and Yorkeys Crossing in partnership with the federal government and Council.
“Solving these problems will require a swift and consolidated approach so just dealing with the two bridges and Yorkeys Crossing separately won’t work,” the Opposition frontbencher said.
“My most pressing priority is to provide safe crossing of the Gulf for all pedestrians and people on gophers, with pushers and on bikes.
“We all know that we need safety for pedestrians, two lanes in each direction all the way through town and an all-weather option for wide and heavy loads.”