South Australian motorists are calling for urgent works to repair an important freight road, just months after it was resurfaced. 

Key points:

  • Transport department spends $455,000 resurfacing Kingston Road
  • Motorists report newly laid bitumen has “melted away”
  • MP Tony Pasin says department response is “ridiculous”

Kingston Road connects the town of Loxton to the Sturt Highway – the region’s major freight route – and is used by trucks transporting produce to Adelaide and to the eastern states. 

In April, the South Australian Department of Infrastructure and Transport (DIT) completed resurfacing works on the road worth $455,000. 

But last week, motorists reported the road had deteriorated to a worse condition than before it was resurfaced.

At least one motorist said he has black tar splatter on his white car, and both road users and the Loxton Waikerie Council have expressed concerns about safety.

“The road’s been a failure since it was laid,” Kingston-on-Murray resident Alex Riley said.

“[It] wasn’t even two days and it was falling apart. All along the fog line was all rutted out.

The deterioration has come during the region’s grain harvest, with trucks travelling up and down the road carting grain.

Loxton Waikerie Council Mayor and farmer Leon Stasinowsky said the resurfacing works completed earlier this year “weren’t done properly”. 

“I would say looking at it now… most of the section they laid down… that there’s problems with it all the way along,” Mr Stasinowski said.

“I just think it was a job that wasn’t done properly in the first place unfortunately and looks like it’s going to have to be redone.”

A bitumen road showing bare dirt where surface has eroded, with green strip and trees along edge of road.

Loxton Waikerie Council issued a warning on its Facebook page to motorists to be careful along Kingston Rd due to bitumen lifting in sections.(Supplied: Tim Schubert)

MP slams department response 

DIT attributed the damage to high temperatures in the Riverland during last week and an increase in heavy vehicle traffic due to the ongoing grain harvest. 

Temperatures in the Riverland peaked last week at 38 degrees Celsius on Wednesday, in a region known for its hot summers. 

“Maintenance teams have undertaken temporary works to prevent further damage, and a long-term fix is expected to be completed in coming weeks,” a DIT spokesperson said. 

“Speed restrictions of 40 kilometres an hour are currently in place at the intersection of Kingston Road and Stott Highway to allow for works to safely be completed.”

Incumbent Liberal MP Tony Pasin

The Federal Liberal Member for Barker Tony Pasin said the department’s explanation didn’t “cut the mustard”.(ABC South East SA: Kate Hill )

Federal Liberal Member for Barker Tony Pasin said the department’s explanation for the road’s condition was a “shocker”. 

“These roads need to be built fit for purpose and it’s obvious that on a rural road as significant as this one there are going to be heavy vehicles traversing,” Mr Pasin said.

“I would happily speak to the person at the state department of transport who prepared that press release because, to call a spade a spade, that’s a complete shocker.” 

‘Shocker’: $455K road works on major freight route ‘melts away’
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