Mallee trains come to a halt as road pressure increases

The Weatherill Labor Government must immediately address road conditions in the Riverland and Mallee to safely account for thousands of extra heavy vehicle movements following the announcement to cease rail operations.

Viterra has today announced that it will not extend its contract with Genesee & Wyoming to operate rail lines in the Riverland and Mallee beyond August 2015.

 

Member for Chaffey and Shadow Minister for Investment and Trade Tim Whetstone said the cessation of freight transport in the Riverland and Mallee will put huge pressure on main arterial road networks in the region.

 

“The Mallee and Karoonda Highways are already under increasing pressure from a lack of road maintenance and without rail, hundreds of extra weekly truckloads of produce will take these routes,” Mr Whetstone said.

 

“While there has been some minor patching on roads in that area, the State Government has largely left both Mallee highways in a state of disrepair and these major freight roads will not cope with extra movements.

 

“Safety of all road users along these routes must be the priority.

 

“In August last year with impending closure of those lines, I was able to put pressure on the State Government, Genesee & Wyoming and Viterra, to extend continuation of rail for 12 months.

 

“In that time a viable commercial option has not been found.

 

“I’m calling on the Minister for Transport to immediately commit funding to upgrade the Karoonda and Mallee highways to cope with the impending increase in pressure from extra heavy vehicle movements.”