A planned airport and freight bypass at Monarto has drawn one step closer.
The state government has put out a tender for the planning work that will underpin the so-called Globelink proposal, which envisions a new corridor for freight movement into and out of Adelaide.
Road and railway lines would be built side by side from a point east of Murray Bridge running north to Truro, then curling back around the northern end of the Barossa Valley and connecting with the Northern Expressway at Gawler.
At present most freight is taken by road along the South Eastern Freeway, then Portrush Road and Grand Junction Road in the city; or by rail through the Adelaide Hills, Mitcham and the western parklands.
The new route would be longer, but not so steep, and would take trucks and freight trains out of densely populated areas.
Later, a 24-hour airport and an intermodal freight transfer facility would be built at Monarto South.
The government tender is for the first two stages of its Globelink master plan: firstly an overview of potential problems and opportunities around the idea, and secondly an assessment of possible solutions.
Remaining work on the master plan will be undertaken next year.
Planning Minister Stephan Knoll said the project would help transform South Australia's economy, grow exports and create jobs.
"The issuing of these tender documents is a significant first step to delivering a generational upgrade to South Australia's freight infrastructure," he said.
"Globelink is about growing South Australia’s capacity to export our premium produce to the world.
“South Australia produces some of the best food and beverage in the world and we have a capacity to increase our primary production output, increase exports and bring more dollars into our economy."
He said the project would make it easier for exporters to access international markets.
The successful tenderer will consult with an industry reference group comprised of transport industry figures, primary producers and local government representatives; and produce a report outlining the demand for and benefits of the project.
The planning work will take nine months.