After years of lobbying by Far north communities around Oodnadatta, roadworks to mitigate flood damage and increased tourist use have finally commenced between Oodnadatta and Hamilton Cattle station – works to realign and resheet a 28 km section have re-commenced and are expected to be completed by February 2010.
Increased accident levels and Tourist numbers, as well as cattle road train movements have prompted Pastoralists’ call for attention. The road accesses the world-renowned Witjira National Park and Dalhousie thermal ponds and is known for low level guttered out sections with dangerous square grader-cut “batters“ which can cause a sliding 4×4 vehicle to roll on impact.
Witjira visitors enjoyed an improvement in conditions for the first half of the rough Pedirka Track lately as Transport SA employed “Hamilton” station to upgrade the Public Access Route (PAR) earlier in the year. This leaves the last 40 kms of National Park track for the poor traveller to stumble over. It has NO annual maintenance at all- and visitors’ pay an entry fee to travel on it!
The total cost of Hamilton Roadwork is $2.13million of which $130,000 is contributed by the Australian Governments Roads to Recovery Program added to SA Govt’s Rural Roads funds.
DTEI (the states roads authority -Transport SA) wishes to thank motorists for their patience and apologises for any inconvenience while these important safety upgrades are carried out.
Oodnadatta Progress Association Chair, Adam Plate says, “We’re happy with any upgrade but we are applying to Minister Conlon for a change in policy to include the sealing, even if in short sections over time, of the main area supply route, now known as the Kempe Road, from Coober Pedy to Oodnadatta, as a priority” “All our food, fuel ,services and cattle travel on this unsealed road and it is especially subject to deterioration, corrugation and wet weather closure. Its poor condition is causing an increase in road accidents “- he said today.
Tony Williams of Mt.Barry Station, 100 kms north of Coober Pedy, now host to a big mineral exploration drilling camp, agrees. “The road spending in the north is not keeping up to demands of our industries—we’re slipping back “ said Tony.
Categories: OODNADATTA News & Events
What about the cyclists who travel from interstate and find nothing but punctures on these particular outback roads?
Tourism SA doesn’t prepare those of us having that experience of our hardworking lifetime for situations such as described here, depending on the season or depending on whether road problems have been recently rectified or not. It’s called “Pot Luck” for us.
Entering the Warzone
“Seems to be 60 km of very sandy track with bull dust traps along the way.
We heard that some caravans gets stucked along this road and stones from the track flew toward the windscreen smashing it as they try to maneuver their way around those bull dust”.