Case Study 3.1 - South Australian Northern Expressway
In September 2008, construction commenced on the new 23 km Northern Expressway, from Port Wakefield Road to the Gawler Bypass, north of Adelaide. This project is the result of state and federal government cooperation under the Australian Government's Nation Building Program. The Northern Expressway, combined with the upgrade of Port Wakefield Road, is the largest road construction project in South Australia in more than half a century with a total investment of $564 million. The Australian Government is providing $451.2 million towards construction of this project and has to date contributed approximately $250 million.
Due for completion in September 2010, the project entails:
- a new four-lane, two-way expressway with divided roadway;
- full-speed connection at Gawler, linking with the Gawler by pass;
- entry to the expressway via interchanges along the expressway;
- overpasses along the expressway;
- changes to the local roadwork;
- a recreational cycle and pedestrian pathway; and
- an upgrade of Port Wakefield Road.
The project has a minimum target of 10 per cent employment for young and Indigenous people and is the first project in South Australia to adopt this approach. In May 2009, young and Indigenous people performed 14 per cent of the labour hours on the job, the highest levels reached to date, and the Northern Expressway project has consistently exceeded its 10 per cent target for these two important demographics.
Various environmental and community concerns were addressed during the planning stage of the expressway, to protect the biodiversity of the region and local community interests:
- Plantings on the overpass embankments at the intersections situated near populated areas will help soften and screen the expressway from adjacent residential properties.
- A range of trees, including river red gums, river boxes and wattles, as well as shrubs, grasses, reeds and sedges will be planted to improve the biodiversity of this important riparian zone.
- The expressway will cross the Gawler River via two bridge structures, one of which is to allow for the 'one-in-100 years flood' mitigation.
- Large areas of land associated with the interchange ramps will provide space for the management of stormwater and the opportunity to reintroduce native vegetation to the area.
The benefits of the Northern Expressway include a reduction in travel time of up to 20 minutes between Adelaide and the northern regions, an improvement in traffic conditions for local residents and a safer and a more direct route for people travelling to Adelaide from the Riverland and Barossa regions. The expressway will also allow for a more direct connection to Port Adelaide for freight traffic, as well as a significant reduction in the amount of freight being carried on local roads.
This project will contribute to the Department's key objectives of assisting national economic and social development by improving the efficiency, safety and reliability of the National Land Transport Network.
An aerial view of the Curtis Road Interchange, part of the Northern Expressway Project.