Our View (4-9-2018): Taking the high road

THE traffic improvements announced for Port Wakefield are a best-case scenario.

Some might disagree, because they would have preferred a bypass to be built around the town, but successive state governments put that idea straight in the too-expensive basket.

The overpass for traffic coming from Yorke Peninsula will eliminate Crash Corner, the junction where Copper Coast Highway meets the Augusta Highway which has claimed too many lives.

Instead, those leaving YP will travel over a bridge and then join with the Augusta Highway traffic. From that point right through to Adelaide drivers will travel on dual lanes. Those coming from Adelaide will also stay on dual lanes right through Wakefield until the bend where the Copper Coast and Augusta Highways separate. At that point motorists can stay in the left lane to visit YP, or the right lane for Port Pirie.

If drivers don’t have to merge from two lanes back to one, and don’t have to give way at any T-junctions, traffic jams during peak times should be all-but eliminated.

The plans also show a potential roundabout just north of Wakefield, which would help vehicles travelling from Balaklava to turn right onto the highway. This idea I’m not as not on. Just when we finally have traffic flowing nicely through the town everyone would have to negotiate a two-lane roundabout. It can be painful turning right from Balak but dual lanes won’t magically increase the traffic during a normal day so it should still be manageable. Perhaps at peak times temporary traffic lights could be installed so those at the Balak turn-off  have a chance to turn. At least that way vehicles wouldn’t have to navigate a roundabout year-round.

But it is important to remember the roundabout is only a maybe at this stage. The overpass and dual lanes are definites and, if everyone can put up with the roadworks in the short term, they should be well worth the wait.

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