TRAVEL times to Gawler and the surrounding region have been slashed after the $867 million Northern Connector was opened this weekend.
The six-lane motorway saw cars travel along its concrete road for the first time on Saturday morning, with northbound lanes opened from 9am and southbound lanes opened throughout the day.
Motorists can now travel uninterrupted from Gawler to Regency Road at Croydon, cutting out the Salisbury Highway and Port Wakefield Road for city-bound motorists from Gawler.
For the first three weeks the road is open, the speed limit will be lowered to 80km/h, before it is increased to 110km/h to allow for driver familiarisation and road testing.
Finishing works will also be undertaken, which could see some land and speed restrictions and the temporary closure of the highway.
State transport minister Stephan Knoll said the opening of the road would be a boon for the Gawler region.
“The opening of the Northern Connector is an absolute game changer for the people of Gawler and beyond,” he said.
“The Northern Connector will help shave around 10 minutes off travel times and by better connecting Gawler to the city it will help unlock more development and investment in Gawler.”
South Australian senator Simon Birmingham added the connector’s opening would encourage tourists to holiday in the Gawler and Barossa region.
“The Northern Connector will link metropolitan Adelaide with our northern regions, making it easier for all South Australians to enjoy a daytrip, getaway or weekend away,” he said.
“Visitors from interstate and overseas will also have quicker and better access to our regions to discover more of what our great state has to offer, while exporters will benefit from faster access to Port Adelaide and Adelaide Airport.”
The Northern Connector project began in 2015 while the former Labor State Government was in power and created 480 jobs each year it was running.
Member for Light Tony Piccolo said local residents would benefit from reducing congestion on Port Wakefield Road.
“Reduced travelling time for transport operators helps keep costs down,” he said.
“The reduced travelling times may spur more people to come and live in the electorate as it is often a key consideration.
“It is especially pleasing as it is a project that was initiated by the previous State Labor Government with a commitment from the (then) Abbott Liberal Government.”