Dear DIT: Adelaide Road needs a right-hand turning lane

The risk of rear-end accidents along a busy Murray Bridge road is too great, a councillor says.

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Andrew Baltensperger has seen it too many times before.

Whenever a car turns right from Adelaide Road, Murray Bridge into the IGA supermarket, or any other nearby business, an accident is only a split second away.

“Yesterday someone stopped right in front of me, then put their indicator on,” he said.

“When they’re not watching ... or when there’s three or four in line and you have to go around (it’s dangerous).”

The council flagged the idea of marking out a central turning lane west of Maurice Road, just like the one closer to the middle of town, several years ago.

But the state department responsible for Adelaide Road – now called the Department for Infrastructure and Transport, or DIT – was never convinced.

The project was not a high priority, the department said.

On Monday, councillors voted to keep lobbying for a turning lane to be put in place, for the safety of all motorists on the city’s busiest road.

It will also ask for a pedestrian refuge to be installed in the middle of the road near the IGA, to make crossing safer for shoppers.

With the last stage of the Adelaide Road linear park due to be completed by next April, now was the perfect time to do the work, Cr Baltensperger said.

“One day we’ll be able to buy some food from (the supermarket), go across the road and sit down in the shade,” he said.

“We just need DIT to come to the party.”

Councillors hope persistence will pay off

At a meeting on Monday night, Murray Bridge’s eight other councillors all agreed a turning lane was needed.

But Cr Tyson Matthews doubted that DIT would listen.

“This reminded me of the scene in The Shawshank Redemption where Andy Dufresne writes a letter every month for five years to try and get funding for the prison library,” he said with a grin.

“You keep writing those letters, Andy.”

Cr Wayne Thorley said it was concerning that the the department had not been as responsive as ratepayers might hope.

“We’ve had numerous issues related to localised traffic within our community, related to one or two routes managed by the Department of Transport,” he said.

“I’m really concerned that we’ll just get a ‘dear John’ letter back saying ‘thank you for your information, we’ve assessed it and we’ve made a decision that we don’t necessarily want to fund it’.

“I think that ultimately it’s about time that we raised it either at a ministerial level or a chief executive level and see what sort of a response we get.”

Council will take other issues to transport department, too

The Adelaide Road turning lane will not be the only issue the council will write to DIT about this month.

Councillors also agreed that better street lighting was needed at two points along Mannum Road: the intersections with Cypress Terrace and Reedy Creek Road.

They will ask for vehicle numbers to be counted at the Palmer turn-off, as well, with hopes that the intersection might be upgraded to improve visibility for vehicles waiting to turn.

Advocating for more investment in road safety has been a theme during Cr Baltensperger’s time on the council.

He has previously gone into bat for projects including a roundabout at the Adelaide Road-Thomas Street intersection, a lower speed limit on Bridge Street and changes to the Adelaide Road-McHenry Street T-junction.

He also pushed for an upgrade of the federally owned Swanport Bridge, or construction of a new bridge, in 2015.

None of those projects has yet come to pass.

Photos: Peri Strathearn (top), Google Maps. Video: Columbia Pictures via Legendary Movie Scenes/YouTube.

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