South Australia slaps limiter on South Eastern Freeway

SARTA backs move and seeks third arrester bed

March 4, 2011

South Australian Road Safety Minister Tom Kenyon will introduce safety measures on the South Eastern Freeway, including nearly halving the descending speed limit for trucks with five or more axles.

The new limit is part of a package of reforms to address safety concerns associated with heavy vehicles using the road link.

Kenyon says the move has the support of both SA Police and the South Australian Road Transport Association (SARTA).

SARTA Executive Director Steve Shearer says industry was supportive of the initiatives but is looking for the creation of a third arrester bed.

"We’re happy with this commonsense solution, one that has recognised the needs of the heavy vehicle industry and does not unnecessarily complicate the situation on the freeway," Shearer says.

The the new limit will affect the full length of the descent.

"This decision follows an extensive period of consultation and research which we’re confident will deliver on the expectations of the many and varied users of the freeway," Kenyon says.

"We’ve been careful to balance the legitimate safety concerns with the reality that millions of vehicles use the road without incident every year.

"The 60 kmh limit for vehicles with five or more axles will commence near the summit at Crafers where these vehicles will also be required to use the left lane.

"The limit will be in place all the way to the bottom of the freeway, with the relevant vehicles permitted to overtake from a point near the Measdays turnoff without exceeding the 60kmh limit.

"The speed limit for all other vehicles using the freeway will remain unchanged."

Other features of the safety package already implemented are:

• The removal of Mira Monte bus stop (South Eastern Freeway stop 14 inbound)

• Upgraded signage to better highlight distances to the availability of arrester beds

"The package was developed following a detailed traffic survey earlier this month measuring lane use and speeds for all vehicles using the relevant section of the South Eastern Freeway," Mr Kenyon said.

The new road signs are currently being manufactured and it is expected that the new package will be in place by mid-April.

In a list of statistics, the State Government says:

• Each day approximately 43,000 vehicles, including 3,500 heavy vehicles use the South Eastern Freeway

• Each day 900 vehicles with five or more axles use the road

• 85% of the vehicles with five or more axles use the kerb side lane

• From 2001-2011 there have been 135 crashes involving heavy vehicles between Crafers Interchange and Conyngham Street.

• Nine of these crashes (two fatal, one serious injury, two minor injury and four property damage) have been attributed to brake failure or vehicle fault.

• The most common crash types involving heavy vehicles on the freeway are rear end (46%) and side swipe (36%)

• The overall number of serious crashes in South Australia involving heavy vehicles has decreased from 95 to 76 in the last five years.

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