Imagine you are travelling along a country road, and you’re jolted as your car tyre lurches in and out of a deep pothole. It’s unfortunately an all too familiar experience for many across regional South Australia.
Now imagine you are in a truck loaded with grain and your tyre dips in and out of that same pothole. Not only does that hole get bigger, but the safety of the truck driver (and others on the road), as well as his load of grain is potentially at risk.
For far too long the South Australian grain industry, which is expected to contribute almost $4.5 billion to the state’s economy from the 2022/23 harvest, has been forgotten when it comes to road maintenance, repair and upgrade.
For this reason, Grain Producers SA (GPSA) undertook the ‘Worst Grain Road’ campaign to find the route in the poorest condition in the state.
These routes are key to getting grain to port.
The campaign saw almost 60 different roads across the state nominated, however it was the Upper Yorke Road on the Yorke Peninsula, Nine Mile Road in the Murraylands and Worlds End Highway in the Mid North that were voted the top three
‘Worst Grain Roads’.
Comments from grain producers and truck drivers to go with the submissions should have decision makers immediately concerned and in fact, I’d be worried if they weren’t already concerned.
As one grain producer put it when commenting on the Upper Yorke Road: “It’s a prime agricultural area that is producing millions of dollars in grain and sheep, yet we’ve got a third-class road to travel on”.
During the campaign we heard that some heavy vehicle drivers are having to veer onto the opposite side of the road to avoid bumps, potholes and undulating surfaces.
Some said they struggled to control their truck when tyres dropped off the edge of the narrow roads.
These roads are key freight routes for South Australian grain producers that transport significant volumes of produce, ultimately providing a return to the state’s economy.
The lack of investment into our Federal, State and Local Government run roads, results in grain producers losing productivity, as well as putting themselves and the safety of other road users at risk due to the poor conditions of these roads.
The total road maintenance backlog in South Australia was estimated to be at almost $800 million in 2020 and growing by $100 million every year.
It’s high time that improvements are made, so GPSA is calling on immediate investment into the top ten ‘Worst Grain Roads’ in South Australia.
The full Worst Grain Roads Report is available to download at www.grainproducerssa.com.au
Chief Executive Officer
Grain Producers SA