PW2PA Alliance Projects Improving Freight Network

In June 2023, the Joy Baluch AM Bridge in Port Augusta opened fully to two-lane, two-way traffic across the Upper Spencer Gulf, which will go a long way to alleviating traffic build-up.

Prior to the duplication, the Joy Baluch AM Bridge already carried an average of 17,600 vehicles per day, a significant proportion heavy vehicles and road trains.

With a pair of two-lane carriageways condensing down to a single lane each way to cross the Upper Spencer Gulf, frustrating bottlenecked congestion was a common occurrence multiple times per day.

The construction of the second bridge across the gulf has added an additional two lanes to this key inland transport route.

Additionally, refurbishment of the existing bridge has upgraded the structure to meet current Australian standards and will also extend the life of the 50-year-old bridge for another five decades.

With the increasing development of South Australia’s inland and regional economies, particularly within the mining industry, it’s strategically and economically important to upgrade the state’s major freight routes.

In line with regulatory changes to allow longer road trains, road freight transport through South Australia’s key north-south freight and commodity transport routes will continue to increase in the coming years.

During 2021 and 2022, transport operators covered 15.2 billion tonne-kilometres in South Australia, a 1.4 billion tonne-kilometre increase in a decade. In contrast, domestic rail and shipping rates both decreased on ten-year comparisons.[1]

The projects of the PW2PA Alliance aim to improve road safety and efficiency for all road users, with an emphasis on improving freight productivity, and, importantly, increase the resilience of critical road links.

Port Wakefield Highway is the state’s main route north and west and typically carries 8,800 vehicles per day, however, this can increase to around 16,000 during holiday peak periods as families travel to their favourite relaxation and recreation destinations.

As a result of high holiday traffic volumes and conflicting traffic movements at the intersection with the Copper Coast Highway, lengthy queues were a regular experience, causing substantial delays and safety concerns.

The Port Wakefield Highway, Copper Coast Highway and Augusta Highway intersection, north of Port Wakefield, is one of the state’s busiest regional road intersections, being a national and regional link between Adelaide, Port Augusta and the Yorke Peninsula.

The new infrastructure has improved traffic flow and reduced congestion for all road users, particularly during peak travel times and public holidays.

Paired with the Augusta Highway duplication between Port Wakefield and Lochiel, South Australia’s road transport industry will experience reduced travel time, improved safety and increased freight productivity.

Chief Executive Officer of the South Australian Freight Council, Jonathan Wilson, commented:

“The Joy Baluch AM Bridge and the Augusta Highway are key links in our national infrastructure connecting, not just freight within SA, but also between Eastern and Western Australia. These projects add not just regional benefits, but benefits on a national scale.

“We anticipate that demand for freight moving across Australia across all modes will increase, and we see road freight in particular presenting strong growth patterns. It is vital that these key infrastructure links be maintained to increase utility, efficiency and safety for everyone.”

Alliance Construction Manager, Dallas Keane, added:

“Delivering such significant projects is being achieved by an Alliance partnership of many capabilities and skills across design, construction, engineering, and community engagement.

“We are working hard to ensure that the regions, locals and road users all benefit.”

[1] Australian Infrastructure and Transport Statistics – Yearbook 2022 | Bureau of Infrastructure and Transport Research Economics (