A much-needed upgrade of the Heysen Tunnels is set to kick off next year, with a tender for the works released to market.
The $75 million upgrade to this strategic freight route is being jointly funded by the Australian and South Australian governments. It will support around 155 full-time-equivalent jobs.
The works will include upgraded lighting and ventilation, a new fire suppression and traffic management systems, an upgraded over-height vehicle detection system, and improved communication systems between the tunnel and Traffic Management Centre.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Barnaby Joyce said the upgrade will ensure traffic continues to flow through the iconic tunnels well into the future.
“The Heysen Tunnels are an iconic piece of South Australia’s road infrastructure,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.
“Some of the tunnels’ systems are outdated and approaching the end of their service life, which is why we are backing the upgrades to keep the tunnel open and traffic moving safely and efficiently.
“This is another example of the Australian Government’s record $110 billion infrastructure investment plan in action. Through this investment in projects like this one, we are helping to connect communities and improve safety, while creating jobs and supporting our economic recovery.”
South Australian Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Corey Wingard said the comprehensive upgrade is expected to start in the second quarter of 2022.
“This is a vital project for the safe and productive movement of vehicles and freight on the South Eastern Freeway,” Minister Wingard said.
“The works will also support approximately 155 full-time-equivalent jobs per year during construction, which is great news for our local building industry.
“The Heysen Tunnels are some of the last non-compliant tunnels in the country but, as is their style, the former Labor government ignored the harder projects and refused to touch them.
“The Marshall Liberal Government is delivering the works South Australian motorists deserve, to fix the tunnels and provide a safer, compliant piece of infrastructure.
“This investment will transform and modernise the tunnels to boost road safety and productivity. It will also include repairs to the tunnel lining, and new video and thermal imaging equipment to detect incidents in the tunnel.
“The tunnels celebrated their 21st birthday earlier this year and they are now receiving a much-needed upgrade to improve road safety, efficiency and network reliability for all road users.”
The upgrade is expected to be completed in late 2023.
These essential works are in addition to the $35 million South Eastern Freeway Pavement Rehabilitation Project currently underway.