Southern Expressway praise rolls in

REGION - Fleurieu Peninsula drivers and a real estate industry representative have expressed their support of the duplicated Southern Expressway, which opened on Sunday, August 3.

Harcourts South Coast principal Mark Forde said the development created a road to riches for the economy and community of the Fleurieu Peninsula.

He said the forecast reduction in travel time of about 13 minutes would place Victor Harbor within an hour’s drive of the city, signalling the start of a realistic commuter culture between Adelaide and the south coast.

“We are already seeing families moving to the south coast for its lifestyle advantages with workers commuting across the Willunga Hills to work,” Mr Forde said.

“This is only likely to increase as the southern metropolitan economy grows. In turn this will drive further demand for workers based on the south coast - particularly in service industries such as education and health required to support the growing number of families.”

Kay Crocker is a volunteer driver for the Southern Fleurieu Cancer Support Group. She drove on the new road on Tuesday, August 5, and said it was well worth the wait.

“It was smooth and efficient, even travelling at 80km/h during peak hour,” she said.

“It took a considerable amount off our travelling time in total because it was an uninterrupted drive it appeared to be less stressful. I am a fan.”

Mat Keelan of Victor Harbor is a driver and chauffeur and travels from the Adelaide Airport to the Fleurieu three times a day.

He said he saved about 20 minutes travelling south.

“I’ve fallen in love, it’s a work of art, it’s beautiful,” he said.

The duplicated Southern Expressway was officially opened by state premier Jay Weatherill on Sunday, August 3, about 3pm, and the first southbound traffic started to flow at 3.30pm.

Mr Weatherill said commuters will save up to 13 minutes each way when travelling between South Road and Noarlunga, McLaren Vale and to the broader Fleurieu Peninsula.

“More than 1800 workers have worked on the project over the past two-and-a-half years, and they have done a wonderful job in sometimes trying conditions, and I thank them for their efforts,” he said.

“Now open both ways, traffic on other main roads in the area will be reduced.” 

State infrastructure minister Stephen Mullighan said the project was a success and addressed a longstanding embarrassment for South Australia.

“People living in Adelaide’s south won’t have to check the clock when heading to their jobs, education, shopping and community facilities, and nor will people wanting to enjoy the magnificent Fleurieu Peninsula, southern beaches and McLaren Vale wine region,” he said.

The new lane is currently speed restricted to 80km/h, until the new asphalt has been considered safe enough to drive on at 100 km/h.

A state transport department spokesperson said for the week of August 7 to August 13, there will be some lane closures and speed restrictions in place for northbound and southbound traffic, and at interchange ramps.

Some of the works that need to be completed include road works at interchanges, landscaping, fencing and building noise barriers.

The state government estimates in the year 2016, up to 80,000 cars per day, including 3000 commercial vehicles, will use the road daily. 

The duplication works cost $407 million.

The one-way Southern Expressway was built in two stages. The first was from Darlington to Reynella and the second from Reynella to Old Noarlunga. 

Construction of the first stage started in July 1995 and it was opened to traffic in December 1997.

Works on the second stage started February 1999 and was opened to traffic on September 9, 2001.

The Rann government announced it would duplicate the road in February 2010.