Christmas has come early for the truck drivers who regularly use the Sturt Highway following the completion of the extensive upgrade of the Mallee Fowl rest area west of Euston into a better, safer place to pull over and take a break.
Federal Infrastructure and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese and NSW Minister for Roads Duncan Gay made the announcement today.
Mr Albanese said the Federal funding for the project came from the Gillard Labor Government’s $70 million Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Program.
“Established in 2008, this is the first ever Federal program dedicated to rectifying an unacceptable lack of safe, modern roadside facilities along the nation’s highways,” said Mr Albanese.
“Across NSW, the Program is delivering 55 new and refurbished rest stops as well as 9 refurbished parking bays, complementing the record investment we’re making in upgrading key sections of the State’s highways.
“By working together as well as with the trucking industry, the nation’s governments are providing more opportunities for drivers to get the rest they need, in turn making our roads safer for everyone.”
NSW Roads Minister Duncan Gay said the $716,000 upgrade was jointly funded by the Federal and NSW Governments.
“I’m very pleased to be able to announce that work on this rest stop has been completed just in time for Christmas,” said Mr Gay.
“The upgrade involved widening the highway and installing an extra lane to improve access to the site as well as removing vegetation, erecting new signage and refurbishing the existing shelter.
“Located 38 kilometres west of Euston, the redesigned Mallee Fowl rest area can now accommodate up to eight trucks at any one time, including for the first time B-triples.”
Mr Gay said the rest areas were also occasionally used as a fruit fly inspection station and site for the random inspections of trucks by officers from Roads and Maritime Services.
“To provide greater protection for those charged with carrying out these activities, new safety barriers have also been installed,” he said.
“Last year in NSW, 75 people lost their lives in crashes involving trucks, with fatigue a factor in many of them.
“We must do more to prevent these tragedies – and without doubt, providing new and upgrade rest stops is an investment in safer roads.”
The speed limit around the site has now returned to 110 km/h.