In what could be considered a long overdue development, sealing of the first 50 kilometres of the Strzelecki Track in northern South Australia has begun.
In addition to improving freight productivity and increasing road safety, the $10-million investment by the South Australian government will also create much-needed jobs and support local businesses that are still reeling from the effects of COVID-19.
T&J Constructions is undertaking the work, which will create 31 jobs over the life of the project.
The SA company is said to have successfully delivered a number of projects within the state on behalf of the Department for Infrastructure and Transport, including upgrades to Innamincka Airstrip and Dillions Highway.
Infrastructure and Transport Minister Corey Wingard said the upgrade would unlock huge economic potential for the state.
“The 472km Strzelecki Track is one of the most heavily used unsealed roads in the northern region and provides a vital freight link between SA and Qld,” said Wingard.
“It’s also an important supply link for major oil and gas facilities located near Moomba in the Cooper Basin, and an essential transport corridor for outback communities, tourists and pastoralists.”
Wingard said he’d heard from industry how dangerous and frustrating it can be for truck drivers using the Strzelecki Track, especially following wet weather and flooding.
“We saw just last week the damage caused by the recent rain when the road surface was literally washed away,” he said. “The state government, together with the Commonwealth, is investing more than $1.1 billion in our regional roads and infrastructure to deliver safer, smoother journeys and to support and create jobs.”
Meanwhile, Energy and Mining Minister Dan van Holst Pellekaan said that in addition to benefiting a large part of his electorate, the Strzelecki Track sealing would provide flow-on benefits to the whole state through improved productivity and safety for the important petroleum, cattle and tourism industries.
Sealing works on the Strzelecki Track, adverse weather conditions notwithstanding, are expected to be completed early in 2021.