Lower Eyre Peninsula looks to road upgrades

Councils on Lower Eyre Peninsula are hoping roads will be upgraded and those who have lost their jobs will be taken care of as the region moves towards a future without an active rail network.

On Tuesday Viterra and Genesee and Wyoming Australia announced the agreement to transport grain along the Eyre Peninsula Rail Network would not continue past May 31.

Councils raised their concerns about the estimated 30,000 additional trick movements into Port Lincoln.

Eyre Peninsula Local Government Association president Sam Telfer said it was disappointing that the rail network would no longer be used to transport grain and now adequate investment into roads was needed.

He said he had contacted the Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Local Government Stephan Knoll and had arranged to meet in the near future.

"I think it's important that the minister (Stephan Knoll) meets with local government very soon," he said.

"We also have to get together as councils and make sure we have a thorough priority list."

Mr Telfer said priorities included upgrades to access points into Port Lincoln, overtaking lanes and shoulder sealing on highways and strong leadership to ensure an export port on the Eyre Peninsula.

Port Lincoln mayor Brad Flaherty said the council would look to work with the government to ensure engineering solutions were in place for the increased road usage and to help the 33 people who had lost their jobs to ensure their welfare was cared for.

"It's sad it's occurring but we've got to accept the fact our rail corridor won't be used and move to work with the government to move forward," he said.

Lower Eyre Peninsula District Council is also looking at a future without an active rail network, particularly the impact it would have on Cummins.

Chief executive officer Rod Pearson said the council would ask for upgrades of the Tod Highway, in particular widening and the provision of passing lanes.

"It is also noted that there will be an impact on the township of Cummins by increased numbers of trucks passing through the main street as grain that has been rail freighted from north of the town is now carted on the Tod Highway," he said.

"There is always a touch of sadness when things change… however if the decision has now been made it is important that the state of the arterial roads becomes the priority."

In the state House of Representatives on Tuesday, Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Local Government Stephan Knoll said a number of options had been explored with the Commonwealth government.

"To date, we have had very productive discussions with the Commonwealth government and we are confident that we are close to delivering a solution," he said.

"We also look forward to engaging with Port Lincoln Council as we refine options going forward."

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