Residents of the Wakefield Regional Council and motorists who use Port Wakefield Road were invited along to a public meeting about the overpass and duplication project.
Close to 100 people came to the Eagles Sports and Community Centre on Thursday last week to have the chance to speak to workers from the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure (DPTI), political leaders and council members.
Mayor of the Wakefield Regional Council Rodney Reid attended the night and says that it this is the first of the public forums where residents and motorists have been able to express their concerns and give their recommendations.
“It was purely a night where they had maps on display, artistic photographs of what it would potentially look like and there were staff from DPTI who were talking to the people,” Mayor Reid said.
“With one of the maps on display, they encouraged people to write directly onto it which I thought was a great idea. So if they had a particular issue with a corner, you could then make a note. It then showed immediate feedback for others.”
Those who attended had the opportunity to fill out a feedback sheet containing their thoughts on the project and Mayor Reid says that it is predominately wanted by the local people, it is just small teething issues that need to be fixed.
“There are a few things that will need to be fine tuned and we understand that as the project evolves it will happen. One of the ones mentioned by more than one person was the concern about the high school bus pick up.
“The high school bus picks up on the eastern side of the highway, all of the students coming to Balaklava High School that catch a bus actually cross the highway at the moment.
“That was an issue that I had not even given a thought to and it is something that DPTI were really pleased they were made aware of because now in their thinking that will have to be catered for and it will be as simple as relocating the bus stop,” Mayor Reid explained.
The night also presented other issues of concern including how the Port Wakefield Country Fire Service (CFS) and South Australian Ambulance emergency vehicles would be able to safely cross four lanes of traffic, especially given that they are located on the seaside of the town.
Mayor Reid says he was incredibly happy with the turn out and has great faith in the system once construction starts that businesses will not be affected.
“It is not a direct worry to me at this stage because I have enough faith in the system that during the construction stage those businesses will be catered for. There will be days where it will be awkward but also days where they will be normal. “My understanding was that they have done some business communication already with the businesses along the stretch of road.”
Member for Frome Geoff Brock also attended on the night and he explains that although this is not his electorate it affects his people and he will be following it very closely.
“I had at least 20 people come up to me and give me their views and their views ranged from the overpass at crash corner is a waste of money and is only to satisfy situations that occur only two or three times a year.
“After the last election, I spoke to the premier about the future direction of what I am looking for in the next four years and even though it is not in my electorate, one of the things the government needs to do is make a decision on whether they put it through Wakefield or bypass it. They need to make a commitment one way or the other”, Mr Brock said.
Although Mr Brock is still focused on the Horrocks Highway, he says there are many things that need to be considered including how people safely cross four lanes of traffic to access fuel, how gophers are able to access the town, how trucks can stop and cross safely and emergency services as well.
“I think the government needs to have a real serious discussion about this, an open discussion with all the relevant players including the trucking industry, emergency services, aged people, community and business owners and I didn't see that at the meeting,” he said.