Our View (12-12-2017): Highway works

THE extensive works happening along the Copper Coast and Yorke Highways have copped considerable flak, and in each instance those complaints have been completely valid.

But it’s important to acknowledge, on the whole, the works package will be a major plus for our area.

The package should have been a home run for the state government. It includes almost $40million in upgrades for our maligned highways, making them smoother, wider and safer. The work will allow B-doubles to move up and down the peninsula for the first time, opening up fantastic opportunities for agriculture and other industries.

The issue has not been the investment or, for the most part, the planned works. Some extra overtaking lanes, for instance, will be brilliant.

The problem is the government has botched the PR aspect of the project since the beginning.

We first wrote about the works in August 2016 after finding out almost by accident. Usually I’d expect the minister to visit for a photo opportunity, or at least a press release spruiking the cash splash. Instead there was no communication, and when we ran the article the minster was overseas. Member for Goyder Steven Griffiths – a member of the opposition – ended up being in the photo.

Since then locals have attempted to change the planned Federation Corner roundabout without success, resulting in the roundabout taking up most of the conversation surrounding the works. This is despite the roundabout only being about 10 per cent of the total project, from a cost perspective.

Making things worse, the works have been happening through harvest and will continue into the holiday season, inviting more criticism.

These are all serious issues, and the paper has treated them as such. However, we can’t cry out for road funding and then only react to the negative aspects. There are many positives as part of these works and it’s only right we acknowledge those too – especially if we want more road funding in the future.

In the meantime, it’s up to all motorists to remain patient and keep our roads safe these holidays.

Nick Perry, Editor
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