Brighton Road

12 May 2015

Extract from my speech on the 2015 Supply Bill.

Mr SPEIRS ( Bright ) ( 12:26:30 ): A few weeks ago, the shadow minister for transport (the member for Mitchell) revealed that the government has a backlog of incomplete road maintenance totalling around $1 billion. This worryingly creates safety concerns and has a profound economic impact in relation to the transportation of freight across and out of our state. As the shadow transport minister has said publicly, 'Road safety and maintenance is not sexy, but it is critical to ensuring South Australians are safe on our roads and our economy is productive.'

There is one continuous arterial road running from north to south through my electorate. It is variously known as Brighton Road, from Glenelg through to Seacliff Park, before turning into Ocean Boulevard and then becoming Lonsdale Road. I regularly receive complaints from the community about various aspects of this road. Of recent concern is a stretch of Lonsdale Road which lies between Perry Barr Road and Barramundi Drive at Hallett Cove. Here the underlying soil quality and lack of appropriate foundation for the road results in regular subsidence and extreme undulation. I have recently written to the transport minister about this undulation and the safety concerns it poses, but my concerns were promptly dismissed. I would invite the minister to visit my electorate and see the undulation for himself, because it certainly is not safe.

While there are concerns about Lonsdale Road, it is the Brighton Road stretch which causes most consternation in the community. This stretch of the road, which passes through Seacliff, South Brighton, Brighton, Hove, North Brighton and Somerton Park, takes some 45,000 vehicles per day. It is in very poor condition, with the road surface breaking up and potholed, and the median strip cracked, broken and littered with dirty old AstroTurf, long faded and disintegrating.

During the 2014 state election campaign, I established a community engagement website to bring local residents and road users into a discussion about the many problems facing Brighton Road. This website can be found at www.fixbrightonroad.com.au. The 'Fix Brighton Road' campaign has now been going for over a year and it has collected a large amount of anecdotal information from road users' experiences of the myriad of road maintenance, congestion, aesthetic and safety concerns with Brighton Road.

Brighton Road users were recently delighted when roadwork signs were erected, trucks rolled in and the road began to be resurfaced between Sturt Road, Brighton and Arthur Street, Seacliff Park. This southbound stretch of road was in desperate need of resurfacing and over the coming weeks locals were treated to a new, smooth coat of tarmac. The change in driving conditions has been stark.

After one side had been done, I made the naïve assumption that the northbound lane would be completed at the same time. After all, the northbound lane is in significantly poorer condition, with the area outside Brighton Central shopping centre in the worst condition I have ever seen an arterial road. How wrong I was!

The contractors disappeared when the southbound lane was resurfaced and have not been seen again since. We now have one lane which is smooth and improved; the other is like a corrugated country track, getting worse by the day as 45,000 vehicles rumble over it. Why resurface only half? It feels like our community is being teased. There is no doubt in my mind that there are patches of Brighton Road, particularly that patch outside Brighton Central shopping centre, which are a major safety risk to drivers, particularly motorcyclists, because of the surface condition.

I implore the Minister for Transport and his department to direct attention to the condition of our city's major arterial thoroughfares, as well as our rural and regional roads, and to tackle the crisis in road maintenance facing our state. The northbound lanes of Brighton Road, through Seacliff and Brighton, ought to be at the top of this list.

Extracted from Hansard