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About the project

The safety upgrade of the North East Road intersection with Sudholz Road was flagged as a major infrastructure project under the 'Big Build' banner in June 2013.

In September 2013, the department released a concept to improve safety at the intersection. The concept included:

  • the removal of right turn lanes from North East Road into Sudholz Road
  • a new signalised intersection at the junction of Sudholz Road and Blacks Road south
  • duplicated right turn lanes for drivers turning onto North East Road from Sudholz Road.

Community consultation

About 200 people visited a display at The Plains Village shopping centre. The project team also met with the owners and tenants of the Plains Village shopping centre and the Gilles Plains Shopping Centre who expressed concerns in relation to access.

In December 2013, the department released a revised scheme which addressed access issues and provided answers to the most frequently asked questions (FAQs) received through the feedback at the project Open Day and emails. A brochure NORTH EAST ROAD/SUDHOLZ ROAD Project Brochure No 2 with the revised scheme and FAQ sheet  NORTH EAST ROAD/SUDHOLZ ROAD INTERSECTION SAFETY UPGRADE FAQ's was distributed to about 1,900 households and businesses around the intersection.

In February 2014, departmental staff met local residents and business owners at a community meeting. Following this meeting, the department agreed to defer the project while it further examined the crash statistics to better understand recent trends. The department also continued to work through the planning process to determine the project's viability. While the serious crash rate had declined over the 2012-13 period, the department‘s view was that a number of factors contributed to this, including major water main pipe line works on North East Road for the majority of 2012.

In August 2014, the department issued about 3,000 invitations to a community meeting in the Windsor Gardens Community Hall. Approximately 90 people attended.

Since announcing the project in 2013, the most frequent suggestion to the department was to trial right turn arrows during peak times.  While the department agreed that, in normal circumstances, the option may be an apparent solution, the traffic volumes on North East Road are too great and prohibited this. Therefore the department dismissed this option based on traffic modelling which showed a queue length extending beyond Dragon Street in the afternoon peak period. In response to this and other issues raised at the community meeting, the department prepared another brochure NORTH EAST ROAD/SUDHOLZ ROAD INTERSECTION UPGRADE November brochure and distributed to about 3,000 households and businesses.

Following the distribution of the brochure, the Member for Torrens, Ms Dana Wortley MP held three meetings at her Electorate Office in late November 2014 and invited local residents and businesses to quiz departmental project staff about the scheme. The department believed it solved most of the issues raised and progressed with the project. Early works, including service relocations, then began in February 2015.

How did community input influence the project design?

Since the project was announced in 2013, the department received a substantial amount of feedback on the scheme and made a number of changes to the initial plan in response to issues raised by the community. The changes included:

  • construction of a “Local Traffic Only” link road, between Bristol Terrace, Gilles Crescent and the Blacks Road service road
  • a new protected right turn into Lynton Avenue, providing access to the Gilles Plains Shopping Centre.
  • neither Aberdeen Avenue or Tarton Road were to be signposted as dedicated routes to Sudholz Road. Drivers travelling from the east will be advised in advance that there is no right turn at Sudholz Road. The department planned to install a 'car only' u-turn facility at the Lyons Road and Sudholz Road traffic signals to reduce traffic on the local road network. Traffic counts indicate few trucks turn right at the North East Road and Sudholz Road intersection to travel north.

Why did this happen and what did it cost?

The upgrade to address safety at the North East Road intersection with Sudholz Road was an initiative of South Australia's Road Safety Strategy 2020 Towards Zero Together, which outlines the commitment to reduce the State’s road toll to less than 80 fatalities and less than 800 serious injuries per year by 2020. In South Australia's Road Safety Action Plan 2013-2016, a primary action for safer roads is to progressively improve safety at signalised intersections with the worst crash history.

The North East Road intersection with Sudholz Road is one of the busiest signalised intersections in metropolitan Adelaide.  It also has a very poor safety record.  About 73,000 vehicles pass through the intersection every day and there have been 42 casualty crashes at the intersection in the period 2010–2014.  While this number declined in 2012 and 2013, 11 casualty crashes were reported in 2014.  About half of the casualty crashes are associated with drivers making right turns at the intersection.  Over this period, a further 8 casualty crashes occurred at the junction of Blacks Road south and North East Road.

The $7.7 million improvements were funded by the State Government from the Motor Accident Commission Road Safety Fund.

The scheme was to eliminate the right turn movement from North East Road, thereby removing a major conflict point.  In removing the right turn lanes from this location, a third through lane in each direction was be created, improving efficiency at this busy location. A more efficient intersection should encourage traffic to remain on the main arterial road, reducing the likelihood of drivers using the back streets to avoid the intersection.

How was the scheme implemented?

As both North East and Sudholz Roads are busy roads, construction works within a narrow corridor and constantly changing traffic environment, including local roads adjacent the intersection, while safely maintaining an operating road network, has many challenges.

Reduced speed limits were implemented at the intersection for the safety of all road users (road workers and motorists) and were necessary due to the changing risks as construction progresses, including:

  • uneven road surfaces, due to modifications of underground services and trenching for road lighting
  • temporary line marking
  • removal of various road lighting poles and temporary traffic signal poles.

Schedule of works

Preparatory works included:

  • various overhead SA Power Network lines and stobie poles relocated
  • new LED road lighting along North East Road
  • optus services relocated.

Works from July 2015 to August 2015, included:

  • construction of a “Local Traffic Only” link road, between Bristol Terrace, Gilles Crescent and the Blacks Road service road
  • commencement of the Blacks Road and Sudholz Road signalised junction
  • road lighting on Sudholz Road
  • relocation of high voltage SA Power Network’s lines and poles
  • relocation of underground Telstra pits.

Works from September 2015 to competition of major construction, included:

  • a new protected right turn into Lynton Avenue, providing access to the Gilles Plains Shopping Centre
  • kerbing modifications
  • footpath reconstruction
  • pavement reconstruction