Murray Bridge council will consider taking trucks off Maurice Road
Councillors have agreed to consider rerouting heavy vehicle traffic which residents say risks their safety and sanity.
This post was originally published behind Murray Bridge News’ paywall. Paywalled posts are unlocked four weeks after publication. Can’t wait that long? Subscribe here.
Seven years after they approved a heavy vehicle route along Maurice Road, Murray Bridge’s councillors have had a change of heart.
They voted last week to consider establishing a new truck route through or around the city, after receiving a petition from 124 “concerned and angry” residents.
As resident Mario Grande told Murray Bridge News last year, truck traffic along the road – through a fast-growing residential area – created constant noise and risked the safety of drivers and pedestrians.
Livestock movements could even have exposed residents to Q fever, he suggested in a letter to councillors.
“Hundreds of disappointed residents … are totally frustrated with this council on this issue,” he said in the letter.
“Let’s not become another Mount Barker; let’s make Murray Bridge a place to enjoy and sustain growth and make it enjoyable for people to reside in their homes without the stress connected to the issues I have raised.
“Enough is enough.”
Airlie Keen was among the councillors who agreed.
“These are existing residents in older residential parts of town,” she said.
“We forecast … many years ago that new development in this precinct would have a conflict … with the freight route.”
Cr Wayne Thorley noted that the city’s situation had changed 2015, when the federal government spent $5 million creating a heavy vehicle route along Hindmarsh Road, Maurice Road and Cypress Terrace.
At least two major industries had moved out of the city centre since then, reducing the need for trucks to pass through populated areas.
“I think it’s worthy of us to do further work on this, to look at how we can amend this with the Department of (Infrastructure and) Transport,” he said.
However, Councillors Tyson Matthews and Karen Eckermann called Mr Grande out for the language he used in his letter, which described some councillors as “stupid”, “incompetent” and lacking foresight.
Staff will prepare a report on the options available to the council.
Mr Grande had previously brought the issue to councillors’ attention at a meeting last December.
How many trucks use Maurice Road, anyway?
A council survey has confirmed an increase in truck traffic along the bypass route over the past 14 years.
Council staff sat by the road and counted the number of cars, trucks and buses to pass along it late last year, and compared the results with a traffic survey undertaken in 2008.
The found that trucks and other heavy vehicles still made up the same proportion of traffic on the southern part of Maurice Road – about 10 per cent.
But an extra 1000 vehicles now used the road every day, including about 60 more rigid heavy vehicles, such as light trucks and buses, and 40 more articulated vehicles, such as semi-trailers.
Two other locations – Hindmarsh Road near Fraser Avenue, and Maurice Road up near Avoca Road – also showed trucks made up a smaller proportion of passing traffic, but that traffic had increased overall.
Council assets and infrastructure general manager Heather Barclay told Murray Bridge News in December that the route had been designed to handle up to 10,000 vehicle movements per day, or at least 50% more than current levels.
“You might start to get concerned if you had more than 10% commercial vehicles,” she said.
“But the … volumes are not out of line with what you might expect.”
She noted that average vehicle speeds along the road had reduced during the same 13-year period.
I live near Maurice Road. Heavy vehicles need to get from the freeway north somehow so what is the alternative? Swanport & Mannum Roads past schools? No way. Maurice Road has a fraction of the traffic experienced by main roads in Adelaide 24 hours a day. Unfortunately one of the penalties for living in a growing community is an increase in traffic.
So that means moving the traffice from Hindmarsh Road as well That will be a bit quieter without the B Doubles coming through. Thinking that this will be a wait and see what the council will do. Yes the worry is now with the new estate being built off Fraser Street now. With the dust etc from the site being developed