Steep Hill Road, Rockleigh's closure still angers residents

Residents angry about the proposed closure of a rough-and-tumble road are urging the Murray Bridge council to reconsider.

The risk of closing Steep Hill Road, one of only a handful leading into Rockleigh area, was greater than the risk of an accident along its length, resident Penny Heighes told councillors at their meeting on Monday night.

"We only have one alternative route from the northern side of Steep Hill Road, and that's Bondleigh Road," she said.

"Bondleigh Road was closed during the last three fire incidents.

"We have no infrastructure apart from these roads and you're cutting us off ... leaving us in a very awkward, very unsafe position."

She said she had collected 115 signatures from people opposed to the road closure: residents, plus friends and family members who used it when they came to visit.

The signatories included fifth and sixth generation grain farmers from the area, she said, and current and former police officers.

If the road were closed, it would take far longer to get to schools at Lobethal and Mount Torrens and workplaces including the Lobethal abattoir and vineyards at Gumeracha.

"This road is very important for the community," she said.

"We don't want a freeway; we just want access."

She also cast doubt on the council's advice that the road would be too expensive to fix, saying she had been given a rough estimate of $45,000 for a concrete drainage system – a quarter of the figure council staff quoted in October.

The matter did not come to a vote at Monday night's meeting, and councillors did not specifically commit to revisiting it in future.

However, Councillor Fred Toogood justified his support for the road's closure, saying he believed it would most benefit public safety: "not only the safety of anyone who's using it but the safety of the workmen who would need to repair the road".

In exchange for the loss of Steep Hill Road, a section of nearby Bondleigh Road is scheduled to be sealed within the next seven months at a cost to ratepayers of $354,000.


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