Mr PEDERICK (Hammond) (11:15): I rise to support the 14th report of the Public Works Committee of the Fifty-Fifth Parliament on the Drain L culvert replacement project. This was part of the former federal Liberal government and the state Liberal government's 80:20 joint funding of $190 million to upgrade infrastructure at locations along the Princes Highway corridor in South Australia.

The Princes Highway corridor in South Australia is approximately 700 kilometres long and runs from the South Australian-Victorian border east of Mount Gambier all the way through to Port Augusta in the state's north. The corridor funding is for the rural segments and includes the Princes Highway (South-East), which is what we are talking about here today; the South Eastern Freeway (Murray Bridge to Adelaide); the Port Wakefield Highway (Virginia to Port Wakefield); and the Augusta Highway (Port Wakefield to Port Augusta). The funding has been made available due to the Australian government's Princes Highway Corridor Strategy.

As part of the Princes Highway corridor upgrade, the department undertook a review of the bridges and culverts to identify those that have a width unable to accommodate a Performance Based Standards vehicle—that is, level 3A vehicles up to 36.5 metres long, double road trains—or those which are at the end of their life and need replacement. Obviously, with freight these days, there is a move for bigger truck combinations, and this is part of the process to make freight more efficient.

The Drain L culvert on the Princes Highway was identified as a priority for replacement, due to both its narrow width and its current condition. As has already been indicated, the culvert is located between Kingston and Millicent, on the border of the District Council of Robe and the Naracoorte Lucindale Council.

The speed limit on the Princes Highway at the location of the culvert is 110 km/h. It is good to see there have been no reported crashes at the location of the culvert on the Princes Highway for the five-year period from 2017 to 2021 inclusive.

There are approximately 600 vehicles a day that use the Princes Highway in the vicinity of the culvert. It is estimated that approximately 156 of these vehicles are heavy vehicles. The key aims and expected outcomes of this project are to deliver the following:

  • improved road safety and driving conditions;
  • improved access, as I have already mentioned, for higher productivity vehicles;
  • improved route reliability and increased network resilience;
  • to support regional development and growth; and
  • realisation of investment benefits.

As we move to these roads that need to cater for these bigger truck combinations, we need to make sure that the roadworks are regularly updated, regularly looked at, regularly maintained and that serious work is done so that we can make sure these efficiency upgrades progress well into the future. I support the works on this culvert at Drain L.

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