Duplicated highway passes holiday test

Monday, 17 October 2022

One of South Australia’s most notorious traffic bottlenecks has seen vastly improved flow, with weekend monitoring of vehicles using the $124.5 million overpass and newly duplicated Port Wakefield Highway showing what a difference the finished project will make.

Drivers enjoyed smooth journeys over the recent Labour Day long weekend and the final weekend of the October school holidays, with monitoring yesterday showing average journey times along the motorway to Two Wells did not increase throughout the day, even during peak times.

Thousands of holidaymakers who headed to getaway spots on the Yorke Peninsula and in the state’s north for the break experienced the improved roadway for the first time, with two lanes of traffic flowing in both directions through Port Wakefield.

The project has improved traffic flow and reduced congestion for all road users, and improved safety by removing the dangerous intersection of Port Wakefield Highway, Copper Coast Highway and Augusta Highway.

Importantly, it has also improved safety and freight productivity along the National Land Transport Network.

The project includes:

• two lanes in each direction through Port Wakefield with provisions for safe U-turns;
• upgrades to landscaping and pedestrian access points through the town;
• a realigned Balaklava Road intersection with the Port Wakefield Highway, allowing for safer turns;
• new bridges across the Wakefield River;
• a new two-lane overpass for traffic travelling southbound from the Copper Coast Highway to Port Wakefield, and for traffic travelling along the Augusta Highway to the Copper Coast Highway; and
• removal of hazardous turns at the intersection of the Port Wakefield Highway, Copper Coast Highway and Augusta Highway.

The works also include more parking spaces, a new town park and landscaping through the town. 

Port Wakefield Highway typically carries 8,800 vehicles per day, however this can almost double during holiday peak periods and on long weekends.

The project is being delivered by the Port Wakefield to Port Augusta (PW2PA) Alliance, a consortium comprising of CPB Contractors, Aurecon and GHD, in alliance with the Department for Infrastructure and Transport. It has been jointly funded by the Australian and South Australian governments (80:20).

Roadworks further north of Port Wakefield are continuing as part of the Augusta Highway Duplication Project (Port Wakefield to Lochiel).

Quotes attributable to Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Tom Koutsantonis

The opening of all lanes along the now-duplicated Port Wakefield Highway is an important milestone for the $124.5 million Port Wakefield Overpass and Highway Duplication Project.

The results of traffic monitoring over the long weekend and the final day of school holidays were very encouraging, finding that traffic flowed smoothly with no reports of problems or delays.

Traffic congestion and accidents near Port Wakefield – especially on holiday weekends – have long been a challenge, but this project aims to make them a thing of the past.

It has reduced congestion and improved safety and traffic flow for all motorists, including the thousands of South Australians who travel through Port Wakefield on their way to holiday destinations on the Yorke Peninsula or beyond.

Final works in the area will continue until completion of the project, which is anticipated later this year. We remind drivers to continue to observe any ongoing speed restrictions.

This has been a long-awaited project, and we’re thankful to both the local community and drivers passing through for their patience.

The roadway has long been one of South Australia’s most notorious holiday traffic bottlenecks – but the new development has passed its first test as we move towards making that a thing of the past.