The Civil Contractors Federation of SA is backing a call from Labor leader Peter Malinauskas for duplication of the two-lane stretch of the Augusta Highway between Port Wakefield and Port Augusta.
The route is reported to be playing an increasing role in the movement of freight and since 2015 has reportedly seen close to 400 traffic accidents, resulting in 30 fatalities.
"The road between Port Wakefield and Port Augusta is an absolute disgrace for a national highway, and well below the standard you’d expect in a first world economy," said CCFSA CEO, Phil Sutherland. "It beggars belief that this section of National Highway A1 – also called the Augusta Highway – remains in such a dilapidated state, given it's a crucial link in the national road system."
Sutherland said as well as addressing public safety concerns, improvements to the road would also help the growth of regional SA.
"A far better road will facilitate and encourage the growth of Whyalla and better support the Cultana Military Base at a time when national security warrants it," he said.
Sutherland noted more than 75 per cent of non-bulk domestic freight is carried on roads, dominating freight movements between capital cities, including Adelaide.
He added that truck traffic is predicted by Infrastructure Australia to increase nationally by 50 per cent by 2030.
"It is no secret SA requires a stronger and more prosperous economy," said Sutherland.
"Road infrastructure is one of the key pillars supporting that ambition.
"Upgrading this section of highway will tick many boxes including public safety, relieving road transport congestion, connecting regional communities, promoting tourism, creating new jobs and business opportunities and increasing productivity."