Taken for granted
The drive between the tourist town of Strathalbyn and the nearby wine hub of Langhorne Creek is a pleasant meander between vineyards. That is unless it has been raining!
Then the road becomes a treacherous stretch of bitumen peppered with flooded sections.
Even after 20mm of rain it is dangerous.
The cause of the problem is clear … even to the untrained eye.
Many sections of the undulating and twisting road have been constructed below the surrounding farmland and runoff obviously pools at the lowest point.
The Courier drove along the road on Thursday afternoon and reported 20 flooded sections in a 9km stretch between Belvidere and Langhorne Creek. (Langhorne Creek recorded 19.4mm of rain in the 24 hours for that day.) Those flooded sections were not minor and the majority covered at least half the road. Four covered it completely. The region had another 25.4mm during the next 24 hours further exacerbating the problem.
Local drivers are aware of the hazard and have learnt to negotiate the many flooded sections but the road is a real danger to the uninitiated – such as a tourist.
At one particular corner drivers travelling quite safely at 100kmh are suddenly confronted with a large pool of water covering more than half the road.
The depth of the water is significant at that speed (approximately 20cm) and it is even more of a problem at night.
But the State Government doesn’t see the problems as a priority.
It has earmarked $50,000 to patch up a couple of areas but we all know how little will be achieved with that sort of spend.
The major problem of the road’s construction is being ignored.
One wonders if this situation would be allowed to continue on other tourist routes close to Adelaide – the roads to McLaren Vale, Victor Harbor or the Barossa Valley for example.
A common complaint against this Government is that it appears too city-centric at the expense of rural and regional communities.
The recent backdown over the Cadell ferry appears to be a rare win for country people but such victories are lost in the shadow of massive urban spends such as the $535m Adelaide Oval upgrade and even a $22m footbridge across the Torrens.
To be fair the problems with the Langhorne Creek Road have been around for many years which does not let the Opposition off the hook.
An issue such as this is an example of communities being taken for granted.
It is a political problem as much as anything. It simply wouldn’t be allowed to happen in a marginal seat.