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About the project

Port River Expressway

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Project overview

The Port of Adelaide/Gillman corridor is an important strategic route for South Australia. The corridor links directly with:

  • AusLink National Network to Perth and Darwin via Port Wakefield Road.
  • AusLink National Network to Sydney and Melbourne.
  • the state's major port and transport depots at the port of Adelaide and the Interstate Mainline rail network.
  • extensive industrial areas north west of the city.

Stage 1 - the 5.5 kilometre expressway between Francis Street, Port Adelaide and South Road, WingfieldDTEI_065_2005-08-16

Stage 1 of the Port River Expressway was opened to traffic on 19 July 2005. The $91.5 million four-lane expressway extends from South Road in the east to Eastern Parade/Francis Street in the west and is parallel to Grand Junction Road.

More than 18,000 vehicles are using the expressway each day, saving up to fifteen minutes in travel time between Port Wakefield Road and Port Adelaide.

Stage 1 was largely obscured behind landfills and recycling depots during construction and has proven to be unlike any other construction project due to the complexity of the structures and environmental elements such as buried waste, low lying natural ground and high water tables.

Stage 1 of the Port River Expressway project included the construction of an overpass at each of the junctions of South Road, Hanson Road and Eastern Parade. The South Road overpass has been named the 'Craig Gilbert Bridge', in memory of the late Mr Craig Gilbert. In January 2002 Mr Gilbert became only the third Managing Director in the then 47-year history of Tonkin Consulting. He was closely involved in winning Stage 1 of the Port River Expressway project for his company and in developing the innovative design solution for the overpass at the Port River Expressway and South Road junction. He passed away in 2003, aged 38.

The design of the South Road overpass is unique, consisting of a large roadway loop extending several hundred metres into the Barker Inlet Wetlands, crossing water basins. Bardavcol Pty Ltd had to undertake major work to preserve the wetlands' overall function during and following construction activities.

The Eastern Parade overpass has urban design features such as bright blue beams and reinforced earth walls with a rock face appearance to create an industrial theme, characteristic of Port Adelaide.

In terms of traffic volumes, the 5.5 kilometre expressway is expected to carry approximately 40 000 vehicles daily in 2011, which will alleviate the current congestion problems on South Road, Cormack Road and Grand Junction Road.

Works commenced on Stage 1 in December 2002, with South Australian company Bardavcol Pty Ltd. delivering the four-lane expressway project through a Design-Construct-Maintain (DCM) contract.

Stages 2 and 3 - the road and rail bridges across the Port River

Abigroup Contractors Pty Ltd was awarded the contract to design, construct and maintain the road and rail bridges across the Port River. Funding of $178 million for Stages 2 and 3 of the project involves a joint contribution between the state and Australian governments under the AusLink Investment Program and it is expected that Stages 2 and 3 will be completed in early to mid 2008.

The scope of work for Stage 2 includes building an opening road bridge across the Port River and connections to Francis Street and Victoria Road and Semaphore Road, providing direct access to the LeFevre Peninsula and Outer Harbor.

Stage 3, the opening rail bridge and associated rail network improvements, will connect the existing rail line on the eastern side of the Port River with the freight line on the LeFevre Peninsula reducing the rail distance between Wingfield and LeFevre Peninsula by up to four kilometres.

For further information, please view the Expressway to the Future presentation which provides an overview of the project and its link to other government initiatives at Outer Harbor.

Benefits DTEI-207-2005-08-16

The Port River Expressway will contribute to South Australia's economic development by providing new road, rail and bridge connections across the Port River, linking South Australia's export enterprises and industrial areas with key transport routes and facilities. The Port River Expressway project is one of the key elements in the Strategic Infrastructure Plan for South Australia, which sets out more than $1 billion in projects to improve South Australia's port and industry-related infrastructure to support the future growth in exports.

Community benefits

  • Estimated saving of fifteen minutes in travel time for motorists travelling from Port Wakefield Road and Salisbury Highway to the LeFevre Peninsula.
  • Reduced heavy traffic through the Port Adelaide Centre and residential streets through the suburbs of Wingfield, Athol Park, Rosewater and Ottoway.
  • Reduced congestion and delays for motorists on South Road, Grand Junction Road and Cormack Road.
  • Improved environment for cyclists and pedestrians by way of integrated on road and off road facilities and safe access across the Port River.
  • Improved air quality through improved travel times, reducing vehicle emissions and removing traffic from residential areas.
  • Creation of hundreds of jobs through construction activities.

Benefits for industry

  • Opportunities for growth in industry through improved freight corridors and transportation efficiencies to Outer Harbor.
  • Reduction in travel distance from Port Wakefield Road to the LeFevre Peninsula by some three kilometres.
  • Reduction in travel time from Wingfield to the LeFevre Peninsula, particularly during peak periods.
  • Reduction in rail distance between Wingfield and the LeFevre Peninsula by almost four kilometres and elimination of sharp curves and steep grades in the Port Adelaide area resulting in operating cost savings.
  • Removal of freight trains on the Commercial Road viaduct.
  • Improved access for B-doubles and road trains in Wingfield and Gillman.
  • Reduced inefficiencies in the transport system.
  • Development of the unique heritage and cultural character of the Port Adelaide Centre though the reduction of the impact of heavy road transport on the area.

Further information

To read more about the Port River Expressway project, please visit our publications page or contact us.