HDS Australia's Desh Senanayake recently presented at the Yorke and Mid North Regional Forum on the development of the Yorke and Mid North 2030 Regional Transport Plan, on behalf of John Olson. The Forum was organised by Regional Development Australia Yorke and Mid North, and was held in Clare on Friday 31 March 2017.
Development of the Yorke and Mid North (Y&MN) 2030 Regional Transport Plan, by Legatus Group, commenced in December 2016 with the appointment of HDS Australia as project consultant and an initial briefing to the Transport & Infrastructure Advisory Committee held at Clare on Monday 19 December. The transport planning team at HDS Australia has previously completed regional transport plans for the Southern & Hills, Murraylands & Riverland and Limestone Coast Local Government Associations, with the company’s Managing Director having been consulting in this field since 2001.
Goals for the regional transport network are generally consistent across all South Australian regions, with a focus on economic development, equitable access, road safety, promotion of tourism, public transport and environmental considerations. Understanding transport demands, which are unique to each region, is the greater challenge.
The proposed Y&MN 2030 Regional Transport Plan will be a strategic level assessment of regional transport needs and priorities covering all Legatus Group affiliated councils. It will guide development of the regional transportation network over the next 15 years. The Plan will consider whole of government objectives and processes together with regional transport demand modelling. From there, a network of regionally significant freight, tourism and community access transport links (mainly roads but also considering other modes) will be defined. Hence the title of this presentation is “Moving Freight, Moving People … Connecting Communities”.
Inherent within each 2030 Regional Transport Plan that we have prepared is an assumption that the regional transport network is “fit for purpose”. However we all understand that, invariably, it is not. Hence a second phase of the regional transport planning process, which has been tentatively scheduled to be undertaken in 2017-18 once the Y&MN 2030 Regional Transport Plan is approved, involves a network wide deficiency assessment for all regionally significant roads. Upon its completion, Legatus Group will possess a series of agreed action plans for upgrading its regional road network over the next ten years. A prioritised list of road upgrade proposals will then form the basis for recommending annual Special Local Roads Program Application priorities, and for sourcing road grant funds from other sources.
Moving freight efficiently, but safely, continues to be a high priority for all regional communities. With significantly greater use of higher productivity vehicles (B-Doubles in particular, but increasingly B-Triple, A-Double and even longer road trains), there is a significant need to identify key freight routes and to re-assess whether the capacity of individual roads and associated bridges/culverts along those routes is sufficient to handle the relevant higher productivity vehicle. This often entails a detailed heavy vehicle route assessment (HVRA) by an authorised Restricted Access Vehicle Route Assessor. One such recent assessment has been undertaken on the Horrocks Highway and Barrier Highway from Roseworthy to Burra. Key upgrade requirements on such a route include additional overtaking lanes to enable safe overtaking of proposed longer vehicles, widened intersections to accommodate turning movements, plus widening of the seal on low radius curves and widening of the carriageway width at some bridges and large culverts. However the economic benefit, particularly to primary producers, of moving large tonnages of freight (such as grain and livestock) more efficiently cannot be ignored, so publicly funded investment in road upgrades to allow safe operation of higher productivity vehicles is a new imperative throughout the region.