Murray and Mallee Regional Transport Plan released

BETTER bus services, a wider Princes Highway and new River Murray ferries are among the highest priorities for transport in the Murraylands, a consultancy firm has found.

HDS Australia's draft regional transport plan for the Murray and Mallee will guide local councils as they prioritise road works and funding applications between now and 2030.

Most urgently required were road widening and/or shoulder sealing on the Princes Highway, replacement of ageing ferries across the River Murray and increased road maintenance, it reported.

"With three major interstate highways passing through this region, there are significant opportunities to improve the efficiency of freight movement," it stated.

"Upgrades to the Sturt, Mallee, Princes and Old Sturt highways, as well as key access roads across the region, will be progressively undertaken to make the most of these economic opportunities.

"These safety and capacity improvements will also support increased tourist and passenger movements to destinations across the region."

Regional public transport services - currently provided by Link SA in the Murraylands - would need to be made more regular and integrated with other services, it suggested.

Plans for road safety and cycling and walking paths would also need to advance.

The plan tended towards providing freight bypasses around townships, encouraging commuter cycling within them, and aiding the safe introduction of "higher-productivity vehicles" such as road trains on highways.

Ultimately, any upgrades to the transport network would need to achieve six goals: economic development, access to "consistent and reliable" travel, road safety, tourism promotion, continued development of public transport - including subsidised, fairly-priced bus services - and minimal environmental impact.

- Details: For maps of towns, council districts and the region under the plan, visit www.murrayvalley

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