The upgrading of the North Stuart Highway between the Motor Vehicle Registry and the turn-off to the Old Telegraph Station ($11m for about 1.5 km) would rank a close second in the flagrant waste of taxpayer’s money stakes, behind the railway overpass south of town ($24m).
Some people may say it’s all Federal money so it’s OK.
Has anyone ever experienced a traffic jam on the North Stuart Highway? Or been delayed by a train on the South Stuart Highway, if at all, for more than a few minutes?
The Larapinta rail intersection in town and leading to Ilparpa have hugely greater traffic volumes yet they are a level crossing.
The new North Stuart Highway section, despite featuring four lanes of extra width, does not have bicycle lanes.
Why not? The NT Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics (DIPL), which had carriage of the work, won’t say. It hasn’t replied to the question we put to it on July 6.
The lack of the cycle facility is contrary to an announcement by DIPL in February 2019 which said the project would include an “off-road cycle and pedestrian path”.
Photo from cycle club Facebook site.
All the cyclists got were signs each end (pictured).
Yet the highway is the access to the uphill section of the road north of the town used by hundreds of local cycle competitors and other riders for training and racing.
The president of the Alice Springs Cycle Club, Brenda Bruce, says the club was consulted by the department and had “advocated for a bicycle lane”.
“But there are two lanes on that section of road [in each direction] and there should be no reason that cyclists should be put in danger there. People can just use the middle lane,” she says.
“It’s not that busy that two lanes should get used.
“We advocated successfully for getting a nice big sign.”
All this while cycling and cycle sales are booming around the world as people avoid crowds in public transports because of COVID.