Swanport Bridge duplication might be on the cards

The federal government will spend $2.5 million planning improvements to the South Eastern Freeway between Murray Bridge and Tailem Bend.

MP Tony Pasin and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg review the 2021-22 federal budget, which includes spending on road safety. Photo: Office of Tony Pasin.

The federal government is thinking about building a second freeway bridge across the River Murray at Swanport.

It will do $2.5 million worth of thinking next year, to be exact.

In the federal budget on Tuesday night, that’s how much money was allocated to a planning study due to take place in 2022.

The study will focus on improving safety and allowing access for “higher-productivity vehicles”, such as big trucks.

It will take in the length of the South Eastern Freeway from the Swanport Road interchange to the Mallee Highway/Dukes Highway intersection.

Both the Swanport Bridge and the intersection near The Bend Motorsport Park have become bottlenecks at times in recent years, particularly during large events or after road accidents.

The idea of duplicating the two-lane Swanport Bridge last came to the fore in 2015, after a woman from Mount Gambier was killed in a head-on crash between her car and a semi-trailer.

At that time, the Murray Bridge council called for either a widening of the current bridge, construction of a second bridge alongside it – enabling two lanes of traffic to cross the River Murray in each direction – or for a new bridge to be built elsewhere in the district.

MP Tony Pasin said the federal government’s investment in infrastructure would generate jobs, better connect South Australians to one another, and help them get home sooner and more safely.

The state government has been asked to match the federal funding commitment for a total $5 million spend.

The federal budget also committed $5 million to planning on improvements to a greater Adelaide freight bypass – not the state government’s cancelled Globelink proposal, but a series of roads linking Murray Bridge to the Sturt Highway, including Swanport Road and Mannum Road.

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