National Road Safety leadership has changed with the new federal government elected in May this year. The Office of Road Safety is looking forward to supporting our new Ministers in the Transport and Infrastructure regions to work together and move towards our ambitious Vision Zero goals.
The National Road Safety Week events in May were well supported and it was encouraging to see the contribution to the ‘pledge to drive so others survive’ event. There were sadly some road fatalities right across the country during this week which reminds us of the importance of continuing our work with road safety. It has become clear that road safety and maintenance is very important, especially as it saves lives. Climate change continues to devastate Australia’s infrastructure and transport sectors making it all the more important to keep up to date with road and traffic safety.
Authorities state that Australia has big challenges ahead in dealing with population growth, skill shortages, transport and infrastructure sectors and other avenues. There have been several recommendations made to make this sector more productive and deliver a wider range of benefits to the community as a whole. However, it comes with its challenges in the transport area including supply chain constraints and the rapidly increasing costs of materials and labour market shortages.
There are several points of interest involving our infrastructure, one being the Western Sydney International Airport construction which is now underway and starting to take shape. This is on track to welcome passengers in 2026. Earthworks are nearing completion, and this will be the biggest earthmoving project in Australia’s history. 24 of the 26million cubic metres of earth have been moved which is a huge feat showing the enormity of the project. This year the Contractors will being the work on the runway and taxiways. This will include installing more than 40kmof roads and 3000 aeronautical ground lights.
Carparks, roads, bridges, utilities connections, operational buildings and landscaping are being undertaken by joint venture companies BMD Constructions and Seymour Whyte. This work involves connecting the airport to Sydney’s motorway network. A full report on this can be read in the Infrastructure Magazine.
Also, the Sydney flagship rail development is underway which will involve new underground trackwork of 15.5km and seven new metro stations. Passenger services are scheduled to begin in2024. This will be a big advantage for commuters by reducing travel times and changing the way people travel across Sydney, giving commuters access to fast and reliable metro services.
There will be two new commercial buildings at the station as well – these are rising rapidly too. This project has boosted the economy and provided jobs for more than 5000 people working on these projects and many more by the time it is completed.
There is also an accessibility project soon to begin at Newport Station in Victoria. This will improve accessibility across the entire transport network making for safe and comfortable travel for everyone. This has recently been passed in the Victoria State Budget for 2022/23.
Work has begun on the new rail connection as part of the Port Rail Shuttle Network which will enable freight to be transported efficiently from Dandenong South to the Port of Melbourne. This connection is known as the spur line – which will also link the Cranbourne line to a new intermodal freight terminal which is planned for construction later this year. This new connection will result in lower transport costs for businesses and is planned to take thousands of trucks off arterial roads, effectively delivering more efficiency and reducing costs for businesses.
In Queensland construction has begun on a major upgrade of the Pimpama Interchange. This includes a new bridge over the motorway, additional traffic lanes, on and off ramp upgrades and intersection signals to replace roundabouts. This is a great safety feature for Gold Coast commuters who will be able to get home sooner and safer once this upgrade is completed. Pimpama is one of the fastest growing regions in the country so infrastructure needed to change to keep up the pace. The Gold Coast is growing rapidly, and the city needs to keep up the infrastructure and services to accommodate the growing population. This project is expected to be completed early in 2024.
The New South Wales Government has announced that work will be ramped up on the sealing of the Silver City Highway which is scheduled to be delivered by the end of 2022. When this is completed the Silver City Highway will be a fully sealed highway from Broken Hill to the Queensland border. Once the Silver City Highway and the Cobb Highways are completed, the entire New South Wales state road network will have been sealed. This is a huge win for motorists and our freight industry as safe roads are very important for larger vehicles to make their journeys safely with less wear and tear on the vehicles therefore reducing costs.
The new Mons and Maroochydore interchange upgrade is now open to traffic, consisting of two upgraded exit ramps and a new four lane concrete bridge over the highway. This has been no small feat on a busy traffic environment and will make it safer for traffic going to and from the Bruce Highway
The extensive review of the traffic light system in Victoria has begun and will mean the installation of traffic monitoring technology in almost 3000 intersections across metropolitan Melbourne. This is said to mean less waiting time at intersections, smoother traffic flows and improved safety for all our road users. This is already proving to be beneficial with motorists getting to their destinations quicker. Passengers on buses and trams are also benefiting from these enhancements that are prioritizing public transport.
Smart parking is another exciting news items for parking in Frankston City. Free 2 hour parking has been reinstated which extends the initiative run during Covid-19. Signage and in-ground sensors are being installed to make way for a 3-yeartrial to help drivers in various ways by locating close parking spots, reducing congestion in high traffic areas plus other advantages. Authorities are also hoping this will help to support businesses in the area by improved parking areas. A list of frequently asked questions can be obtained on the Frankston City Council website to make it easier for drivers to understand how they can benefit from the smart parking.
In Townsville parking fines have been slashed by more than half as the previous fines were thought to be too expensive going by Council feedback from the community. Parking in Townsville is now among the cheapest in Queensland. However the fines for offences such as illegally parking in a disability parking spot or loading zones remain unchanged, as is the fine for overstaying the time in the parking spot.
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