South Australian insurer RAA has identified several roads in the Limestone Coast road network with serious safety concerns in its latest regional road report. The report also helps explain the region’s grim road toll, which saw 46 people killed and 900 injured in crashes between 2014 and 2018.
Matthew Vertudaches, RAA traffic engineer and report author, said investigations by RAA’s road-safety team combined with community feedback identified Dukes Highway as one of the key areas in need of upgrades.
“We also noted safety concerns on major roads across the Limestone Coast, including those in the internationally renowned Coonawarra wine region,” Vertudaches said. “Some roads are in a very poor state, including Kangaroo Flat Road where hazardous road conditions and the 100 km/h speed limit increase the risk of casualty crashes. The undulations on Lucindale Road are another major cause for concern. The 17-kilometre section of the Riddoch Highway through the Coonawarra has a mixture of tourists visiting cellar doors and heavy freight traffic travelling at significantly different speeds. This could be a recipe for disaster. This is why RAA’s report recommends new overtaking lanes, right turn lanes, and a speed limit review, which could potentially see the current 110km/h speed limit reduced to 80 km/h along this short section, if the road isn’t upgraded.’’
Findings also showed that Limestone Coast saw a mere 10% reduction in casualty crashes in 2015-17 from 2006-08 averages – a worrying result compared to the 33% drop in casualty crashes in regional South Australia as a whole.
Meanwhile, road safety issues within the network identified in the report ranged from basic maintenance, such as filling pot holes, to upgrades like shoulder sealing, road widening, and building more overtaking lanes, as well as major infrastructure investment.
“These issues affect the safety of all road users, including local residents, children on school buses, commercial traffic, and tourists,’’ Vertudaches said. “In addition, the struggling road network is having an economic impact on freight transport efficiency.’’
The report also proposed to turn disused rail corridors in the region into dedicated bicycle paths, which Vertudaches said “could attract more tourists to the area and provide a boost to the region’s economy.”
Other recommendations presented in the report include:
- Princes Highway: continue shoulder sealing, widen bridges, and install new overtaking lanes
- Riddoch Highway: include this vital route as part of the National Highway network to secure funding for further upgrades
- Southern Ports Highway: continued shoulder sealing and intersection upgrades
- Speed limits: implement safety and maintenance upgrades on Riddoch and Ngarkat highways, Carpenter Rocks and Clay Wells roads and subsequently review the 100km per hour speed limits
- Roadside hazards: widen and expand clear zones on state highways to 5 metres or use safety barriers where this is not possible.