Bridge’s big budget boost

THE duplication of the Joy Baluch AM Bridge is set to be one of the state’s biggest infrastructure winners in the federal budget to be announced on Tuesday night.

South Australia will receive a cash injection of almost $2 billion to spend on transport projects with $160 million being allocated to fix Port Augusta’s bridge woes.

In line with other projects located on the National Land Transport Network, the duplication was initially proposed on an 80-20 funding basis between the federal and state governments.

Pedestrian safety along the bridge has been a major concern, following an increase of foot traffic as a result of the closure of the Great Western Bridge in March 2017.

Federal Member for Grey Rowan Ramsey said he was delighted with the allocation of funding for the duplication project.

“I have worked hard on a solution for the bridge advocating strongly with Ministers Joyce, Chester, Fletcher and McCormack,” he said.

“The government and the Prime Minister have recognised the importance of this issue which needs a solution to improve safety for the community.

“Pedestrian safety on the bridge has been a longstanding concern and exacerbated since the closure of the Great Western Bridge where more pedestrians and cyclists were forced to use the Joy Baluch Bridge.”

Mr Ramsey said the bridge is the key crossing to access the Upper Spencer Gulf and the only viable link between east and west Port Augusta.

“Emergency services can be sidelined if traffic is interrupted on the bridge and Yorkeys Crossing is subject to frequent closures when wet,” he said.

“Trying to negotiate a solution has been a hard haul with the previous state government so it is refreshing now to have a new Marshall government keen to work with the federal government to find long-term answers to the tough issues.”

“The duplication of the bridge has always been the best long-term, permanent solution and I am very pleased this has now been announced.”