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Road toll ‘last resort’

Road Transport Association executive director Steve Shearer says a third arrester bed would improve safety.
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A third arrester bed at the start of the South Eastern Freeway in Adelaide could prevent out-of-control trucks from creating havoc on the notorious stretch of road, according to South Australia’s peak road transport body.

Road Transport Association executive director Steve Shearer has called on the South Australian Government to consider a “last resort” arrester in the centre of the freeway.

He said it would help prevent accidents like Monday’s double fatality involving an out-of-control truck and three stationary cars.

“They can’t say the engineering or the geography is hard because they dug half the hills away to build the road,” he said.

“They can do a bit more digging if they need to.

“They need to put in a last resort arrester bed and they need to sit down and talk to us because we know how truck drivers think.”

Mr Shearer welcomed the decision by the South Australian Government to reduce the speed limit to 60 kilometres an hour for all trucks travelling the 10-kilometre descent through the Adelaide Hills from Stirling to Glen Osmond.

It was made in reaction to Monday’s crash when an out-of-control truck came off the freeway at 150kph and hit three stationary cars. A similar situation in 2010 resulted in a fatality as well.

A spokesperson for Road Safety Minister Tony Piccolo said a third arrester bed would be difficult in that location due to “geography and topography”.

“The Government has investigated it and it is problematic there,” he said.

“We are looking at other options.”

The spokesperson said an arrester bed in the centre of the freeway would not solve the problem.

“If one was to put it in the middle of the road, and then you get a truck like the one on Monday that was out-of-control at 150 kilometres an hour, it has to do a triple lane switch go get into the middle,” he said.

“You’d also have to look at moving infrastructure, such as the toll gate and access blockages.

“It’s a really complicated geographic situation there and we have done our due diligence on it.”