Praise for $24m overpass over the top


p2293-Scullion-BarkerBy ERWIN CHLANDA
The spin doctors would have been working hard on this one: The rail overpass 12 km south of town is making history – no less – because it’s doing away with the last level crossing on a national highway in the NT.
I know a man who lives in town, has worked 30 years at Pine Gap and hasn’t ever seen a train there, let alone been run over by one.
Chief Minister Adam Giles, noted for his optimistic estimates, claimed “about 2000 vehicles a day” pass over the crossing.
Senator Nigel Scullion, as the only Federal Minister from the NT, got the job of opening the overpass today. He, too, was working hard to find justification for the $24m hump: “Good infrastructure is when you’re ahead of the load.”
It will be handy “when this road is going to be as busy as it is going to be. You need to be ahead of the curve,” he stated emphatically.
The ABC asked: Should the money have been spent on reinstating concession fares on the Ghan?
The Senator wasn’t up to speed on the matter but expressed readiness to meet with people pushing that barrow.
We asked him if the money would not have been better spent upgrading facilities in the West MacDonnell National Park, given that it is Aboriginal land, that he is the Indigenous Affairs Minister, and given that the whole community would massively benefit from that.
p2294-overpass-openingThe money “comes from an infrastructure portfolio. This has been an excellent investment, as all Territorians would say,” claimed the Senator, and quickly strayed from the point.
“I’ve just invested over a billion dollars, not only in infrastructure but also in social services across Indigenous land.”
We asked Mr Giles, who was standing next to Senator Scullion and had heard the conversation, if the $24m for the overpass was money well spent: “Absolutely,” he replied.
PHOTO: Senator Scullion talking to Clare Barker from the Emergency Services on the bus passing over the overpass to mark its opening today. The railway line can be seen below in the distance, with no train on it, as it is almost always. ABOVE: Senator Scullion and Mr Giles with a cattle road train approaching the overpass.


  1. I still say that money would have been better spent towards a rail under pass or over pass on Larapinta Drive than here.
    Emergency vehicles get delayed only a few times a week. Whereas on the South Stuart Highway there are surely zero instances.
    Coupled with the speed of the train passing there would be slightly less time to wait than the slower moving carriages near the CBD.

  2. Ahead of the safety curve might be the reasoning. Not only can we look forward to more mining and therefore more large mining trucks transiting Alice, but nuclear waste is still in the mix.
    From a short list of six published in the national news, one site is nominated from the NT.
    Hale is its given name, and from Google maps it looks like it’s past Santa Teresa but before the Simpson sandhills. Either just before or just into Camel Flat if memory serves me.
    And weren’t there stories of massive road construction vehicles seen passing through Santa Teresa recently? Maybe not just a pipeline is being considered down that way.

  3. It is money well spent, there are so many roadtrains, trucks, coaches, caravans, motor homes etc that it is a safety issue, as the rail line is not at 90 degrees to the road.
    Coming from the south you need to look to the right over your shoulder to see if a train is coming, it travels at about 100 kph. Do you think a road train 53 metres long travelling at 100 kph can stop in time?
    It needs about 1 Km or more to stop.
    I think this is the last overpass to be built on a main highway in the NT.

  4. Money well spent? That’s 24 million dollars!
    It is all about priorities. Honestly, we could list about 20 other items that would be smarter use of money.
    The nuclear industry didn’t even go ahead last time and they are cutting down trips on the Ghan. And they rush to put cash into this!
    This world is crazy!

  5. @ Taryln: I agree, our emergency services need quicker access across town when the train track is in use. They shouldn’t have to wait, and yet the Government spent millions on a crossing that hardly sees delays.

  6. Remember folks, this was Federal money.
    While this may be the last level crossing on the Stuart Hwy in the NT, it’s not the last on the Adelaide to Darwin line over the Stuart Highway.
    Anyone genuinely concerned about safety would have attended to the one 50 km north of Pt Augusta first – it is at a seriously oblique angle, and somewhere trains would be at maximum speed, unlike our overpass, where they are just entering / leaving a 50 km/h restriction.


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