The RAA is calling for urgent safety improvements to Victor Harbor Road, which has experienced a 38 per cent increase in traffic over the last 10 years.
This follows a detailed investigation into the state of the increasingly busy, regional thoroughfare.
RAA traffic experts spent days conducting site visits and have made a number of recommendations including intersection upgrades, new safety barriers and changes to speed limits.
Between 2011 and 2021, more than 310 people have been injured on Victor Harbor Road and 15 people have lost their lives - an average of more than one death per year.
RAA senior manager safety and infrastructure Charles Mountain said Victor Harbor Road is critical to the movement of thousands of daily users through the Fleurieu Peninsula, and is also crucially important to freight and tourism.
"RAA welcomes the recent and planned government improvements to infrastructure, however our investigation has identified further maintenance and safety upgrades are needed to reduce the road trauma on this key regional thoroughfare,'' Mr Mountain said.
"These have been included in our Highway Assessment: Victor Harbor Road report which outlines a series of recommendations aimed at improving safety on this road now, and into the future.''
Key recommendations include:
- Ensure that planned overtaking lanes south of Mount Compass are of sufficient length and include mid-road wire rope barriers
- Widen the road south of Mount Compass to achieve a two metre sealed shoulder, lanes 3.5 meters wide and a 2 metre wide centre lane with a mid-road wire rope barrier
- Install a roundabout at the intersection with Goolwa Road
- Ensure safety upgrades achieve a minimum three-star Australian Road Assessment Program safety rating.
Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie said more needed to be done to improve safety.
"We have been able to get some significant funding announced by the federal government with respect to Victor Harbor Road and I believe the state government is doing their due diligence on how to best spend the funds allocated for the duplication of South Road, but a proper dual highway road from Victor Harbor through to Old Noarlunga has to be our goal. I've said that for the last five years," Ms Sharkie said.
"We've been able to get more overtaking lanes and some safety measures implemented, but ultimately, Victor Harbor, Goolwa and the region is continuing to grow and more and more people are now commuting to the city.
"I don't think the public transport network is fit for purpose for the population of the south coast and we really need some serious investment at both the state and federal level and some planning so people know what the plan is for the next five to 10 years."
City of Victor Harbor Mayor Moira Jenkins agreed and said a lack of public transport meant many young and elderly drivers were regularly commuting on Victor Harbor Road in poor weather conditions.
"The road needs to be as safe as possible for these users; driving to Adelaide at this time of the year can be awful," Dr Jenkins said.
"There are far too many accidents and lives lost on this road. Not only does the road need to be made safer, but we also need to address speeding motorists and unsafe drivers on Victor Harbor Road and provide access for more overtaking lanes."
In October 2020, the federal government committed $12 million for safety upgrades to Victor Harbor Road, including the provision of more overtaking lanes.
This followed $2.5 million promised by the state government in 2019 to build a new overtaking lane between the roundabout adjacent to the Urimbirra Wildlife Park and the intersection of Crows Nest Road.
In February, the Department for Infrastructure and Transport told The Times that the state government funded overtaking lane was in a detailed design phase and construction was due to begin in late 2021.
Alexandrina Mayor Keith Parkes welcomed the RAA report and funds currently allocated to upgrades.
"Victor Harbor Road is one of the main arterial roads connecting the Alexandrina region to Adelaide and the southern suburbs," Cr Pakes said.
"Council has strongly advocated for improvements to the road for many years, and statistics unfortunately prove that this road needs urgent work and longer term planning for significant upgrades. We welcome the RAA's report which demonstrates the need for ongoing funding from both the federal and state governments to undertake large scale improvements.
"Council is grateful for the ongoing advocacy from local members Rebekha Sharkie MP and David Basham MP in securing funding to date; and we have already started to see positive outcomes.
"We are very supportive of additional funding towards the upgrade of the Adelaide to Victor Harbor road to make the roads to Alexandrina safer for locals and visitors alike."
Member for Finniss David Basham said he was looking forward to work commencing on both the Old Noarlunga to McLaren Vale section and the overtaking lane north of Victor Harbor.
"I am proud to be part of a government which is delivering record funding towards road upgrades right across regional South Australia including key projects on the Fleurieu Peninsula," Mr Basham said.
Mr Mountain said an RAA community survey showed driver behaviour, lack of overtaking opportunities, traffic congestion and poor road maintenance were among motorists' greatest safety concerns.
"Most of the 1080 survey respondents commented that speed limits were too high along sections of Victor Harbor Road, which is why we have also recommended an extension of the northern 80km/h speed zone in Mount Compass to improve safety at the intersection of Sand Mine Road and the exit from Roadman's Reserve,'' Mr Mountain said.
"We also recommend an extension of the Mount Compass 60km/h speed limit zone by 100 meters north to improve safety at the intersection with Tay Road.''
View the RAA's full report via: raa.com.au