An aerial view of the township, roads and vineyards of McLaren Vale.

Published on 02 November 2022

$4.2 million McLaren Vale road safety plan

McLaren Vale is to become one of the safest wine regions in Australia with upgrades to 21 intersections through a $4.2 million road safety project.

City of Onkaparinga is working with the Department for Infrastructure and Transport (DIT) to upgrade the intersections following council’s 2021 intersection audit and advocacy efforts, and subsequent $4.2 million state government election commitment from Member for Mawson, Leon Bignell.

Council has released the proposed treatments and timing for each of the 21 intersections, which were identified during the audit and have since been reviewed collaboratively with DIT.

The proposed treatments, some of which are innovative or the first of their kind in South Australia, include:

  • A ‘compact roundabout’ at the Chalk Hill Road, Olivers Road and Field Street intersection, which was identified as the highest-risk site of the 21 intersections. The project—which combines the safety benefits of roundabout control with raised safety platforms to slow vehicles down as they approach—would be the first of its kind in SA, and are less costly to build than a conventional roundabout due to their smaller footprint
  • Teardrop-shaped islands on side-road approaches, which disrupt the view through the intersections to increase driver attention to the need to either stop or give way
  • Rural Junction Active Warning Signage (RJAWS), which involves an intelligent warning system that detects when vehicles are approaching an intersection, and then activates flashing warning signs to improve driver awareness
  • Enhanced warning signage and rumble strips.

Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Tom Koutsantonis said McLaren Vale is one of the most popular wine regions in South Australia, attracting tens-of-thousands of visitors every year.

"This leads to high levels of traffic, with many drivers unfamiliar with the roads, which has resulted in frequent accidents, some with tragic consequences," he said.

"We are pleased to be working with the City of Onkaparinga to deliver on our election commitment to make these roads safer by implementing innovative solutions, some of which have never been used before in SA.

"The South Australian Government is also delivering the duplication of Main South Road and Victor Harbor Road which, combined with these 21 intersection upgrades, will ensure drivers can enjoy a safer journey to, from and around this stunning region."

Member for Mawson Leon Bignell said the local area was shattered last year following a series of fatal and serious injury crashes in the McLaren Vale region caused by inattention or poor driving.

"I worked with Peter Malinauskas, Stephen Mullighan and Tom Koutsantonis and they backed a $4.2m project which we took to the state election to make 21 local intersections safer. It has been terrific to see the high level of cooperation between the state government and the City of Onkaparinga as we all strive to save lives and reduce serious crash numbers."

City of Onkaparinga Acting CEO Julia Grant said the proposed upgrades would help save lives, with council’s audit coming in the wake of two tragic fatal crashes in the region in 2021.

“While council’s audit found these intersections comply with safety standards and minimum road safety requirements, we identified improvements we could make, and advocated to the state government to help us deliver the upgrades,” he said.

“It was fantastic to see the state government commit $4.2 million, and council and DIT have since been working collaboratively to finalise the safety solution for each of the 21 intersections.

“The entire community was deeply affected by recent tragedies, and we’re doing everything we can to improve safety for all users of our road network. We all have a part to play to reduce the prevalence of injury and trauma, and to ensure we all get home safe.”

Designs for the 21 upgrades are expected to be completed in 2023, with all upgrades expected to be completed by June 2024. Multiple opportunities will be provided for the community to have their say on the proposed upgrades.

Both DIT and the council have individual and shared responsibility for roads in the area, with DIT responsible for roads such as Main and Aldinga Roads, while council is responsible for adjoining local roads.

A separate RJAWS treatment for the Chalk Hill Road, Olivers Road and Field Street intersection also commenced operation this week, funded by the Australian Government through the Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program. It will remain in place until the state government upgrade is installed.