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Engineers say fences to stop rock throwers on Southern Expressway should take weeks, not months #australia #australia_news #ABC_News #Just_In


Posted

June 13, 2018 12:17:06

Local engineering firms have slammed the Government’s delayed response to rock-throwing incidents on Adelaide’s Southern Expressway, saying throw fences on bridges could be installed within six weeks.

Of 30 known incidents this year, 19 have involved an object thrown from an overpass or bridge.

Despite this, the Government will not have grate-style fencing installed over the bridges until later this year.

The owner of a southern suburbs engineering firm who did not want to be named said the idea that it could take so long to solve the problem was “absolute crap”.

“There’s any number of examples of guarding bridges for that particular purpose all over the South Australia,” he said.

“On the Southern Expressway itself, one of the bridges closest to the Noarlunga Centre, that’s been guarded very well and it’s been like that for years.

“There’s also one near the Old Spot Hotel on Main North Road. The guard’s been over that bridge for the last 15 to 20 years.”

The engineer said it would take about two to three weeks for design and engineering, which would then require the clients’ sign off, and there would be traffic considerations during installation as well.

He said it would take about six weeks in total but could be done faster with more resources.

“They already have the engineering and the design and I would have thought that was a project you could get off the ground fairly quickly.”

Colin Reynolds from a different engineering firm said the job would require a week for design, a week for engineering, and about seven to eight days to install per bridge.

“There would be some components in there that would be a bit tricky, such as traffic closure of the Southern Expressway, and there would be a significant amount of engineering, and then you’d need to bring a crane in as well for the install,” he said.

“At the end of the day, this is a doable job. They’ve already got them [throw fences] up there already, but there’s some small components to consider such as traffic control and engineering.”

Mr Reynolds has himself been the victim of a rock-throwing incident while travelling the expressway to go surfing.

“I had a surfboard on the roof and there was a massive thud,” he said.

“It was a plastic bag with a rock in it.”

Bridges not secured during duplication

The Southern Expressway was duplicated in 2014 by the former Labor government, but while the bridges were extended, many were not fitted with grate fencing.

During this year’s election campaign the Liberals pledged to put a tender out for companies to build grate-style fencing immediately if it was elected.

Three months after taking office, the party is upgrading CCTV and installing mesh and fencing over and around loose rocks — measures that are expected to begin within two weeks.

But Transport, Infrastructure and Local Government Minister Stephan Knoll said throw screens were still being designed and their installation would not begin until later this year.

“We are working to bring forward the delivery of these measures,” he said.

“Unfortunately, because the previous Labor administration did absolutely no work to design and install these throw screens, it will take some time to design, construct and install them on the remaining bridges.

“SAPOL have also recently launched Operation Watercolour, which will see a significant increase in police resources deployed to prevent and catch those reckless individuals throwing objects at vehicles in the southern suburbs.”

Friend severely injured by rock-throwing incident

The first engineer added that a friend of his was severely injured when a rock was thrown from a bridge two years ago and wanted police to man them every night until something could be done to avert the risk.

“As far as the Government is concerned, somebody needs to be held accountable there,” the engineer said.

“There’s a risk there, a severe risk, and really they’re all sitting on their hands.

“This project isn’t rocket science.”

A SAPOL spokesperson said while 19 of this year’s reported incidents involved an object “allegedly projected from an overpass or a bridge at a motor vehicle”, a further eight had come from the roadside.

Another two projectiles came from the bike pathway and two others came from an unknown location.

SAPOL said the most common time periods for rock attacks were between 3:00pm and 6:00pm (nine incidents), followed by between midnight and 3:00am (eight incidents).

The most common day for a rock attack to occur was Monday.

Topics:

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state-parliament,

government-and-politics,

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human-interest,

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