Relentless campaigning dating back to 2014 has finally paid off for Light MP Tony Piccolo.
Last Thursday, Transport Minister Stephen Mullighan wrote to Mr Piccolo to advise that $4 million would be made available to facilitate the upgrade of the notorious Tulloch and Main North Road intersection at Evanston.
Traffic signals will be installed as part of the upgrade in response to increased traffic volumes on Tulloch Road linked to commercial developments.
The decision was welcome news for the local MP and Gawler Green traders.
“Hopefully this will mean more business (for us),” Wicked Earth’s Trephina Lathwell said.
“We’ve had customers say they avoid coming here because of it (the intersection).”
Concerns around road safety and increased traffic as a result of boosted retail development instigated the campaign.
Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure investigation revealed that the number of crashes at the intersection and approaches had been increasing, from two casualty crashes between 2007 and 2013 to four casualty crashes between 2014-16.
Mr Piccolo first raised the issue in early 2014 upon receiving complaints about the intersection from Gawler and District College and people who shopped at Gawler Green.
“At that time I started to have a series of meetings with DPTI officials and council to see what could be done to improve the intersection,” Mr Piccolo said.
“Regrettably, council did not see it as its issue; a view I disagreed with then and continue to do so now … it did in May this year come on board and join the campaign for the intersection to be upgraded.”
In September, Mr Piccolo – frustrated by a lack of action from both council and state government, after the project yet again missed out on a guernsey in the 2017-18 State Budget – instigated a petition calling for an immediate upgrade.
The petition subsequently reached up to 60,000 people on social media.
“When you go to the minster and tell him that 60,000 people have viewed the petition, it tends to suggest that’s a very strong issue for the local community,” Mr Piccolo said.
“This upgrade will make it much easier for thousands of drivers to navigate this intersection safely and reduce the chances of having a crash.”
Mr Mullighan said “full credit” should go to Mr Piccolo for his “tireless efforts” to secure the upgrade.
Design work was set to begin immediately, with the project to be delivered during 2018.
Mr Piccolo said the funding would be formally announced in the state government’s mid-year budget review in December.
The funds would be included in this budget and the next (2018-19) to allow works to be completed.
“DPTI have been doing preliminary work to work out what the solution should be, so the $4m has been made available to make sure we can fund traffic lights,” he said.
“My personal preference was a roundabout, but in the end we just want something built to make it safer.
“According to traffic engineers, a roundabout wouldn’t work well at certain times.
“As far as I’m concerned it’s a great win for the community.
“It’s 100 per cent funded by state government, there’s no complications, we’re not waiting for anyone – it will happen next year.”