More will be needed to keep roads in shape

MORE than 111 years of grain haulage by rail will come to a end on May 31 when the last train arrives in Port Lincoln.

With less than two months to go the federal government's commitment to spend $25 million on Eyre Peninsula road upgrades could not have come at a better time. 

While no decisions have been made yet on where that money will be spent, federal member for Grey Rowan Ramsey said he will be recommending the works include widening the Tod Highway, overtaking lanes on the Lincoln Highway, and converting he last four kilometres of the rail corridor into a haul road for trucks to enter Port Lincoln.

When Viterra decided to move all the region's grain by road a lot of people were worried about what that would mean for our roads.

We were also skeptical about what any level of government would do to make sure local roads were up to the task of carrying dozens of extra truck movements per day.

While this commitment is substantial and will clearly make a difference to the safety and condition of our roads this type of investment will need to be repeated for years to come. 

This funding will go a long way in getting the right infrastructure in place to cope with the extra truck movements but the real sticking point will be continued investment in our roads to keep them in the right condition. 

Investment in the Tod Highway is sorely needed and has been for a long time and perhaps down the track the government might see fit to put in some overtaking lanes on that highway given that road will be carrying more than 30 extra trucks each week. 

Although the news of rail freight ceasing has been frustrating and disappointing it has been good to see Eyre Peninsula people coming up with some solutions.

And while it may have seem far-fetched for the rail corridor to be transformed into a truck route, it's great see that might, in part, become a reality.

It shows the community's concerns have been heard and it is no doubt a big relief to the Port Lincoln City Council.

Clearly our politicians and councils are working to make sure the region is equipped to adjust to the looming changes but it is vital that this work continues long after the last train arrives in Port Lincoln in May.