The project, however, has hit a snag in the form of local councils who are concerned that the upgrade will trap their residents in their suburbs and stifle the potential for job growth by creating a barrier between Flinders University and the Tonsley precinct, which includes research centres and businesses.
The Mitcham and Marion councils have met and agreed to lobby the state and federal governments to rework plans for the 2.3km, non-stop section of South Road, linking Ayliffes Road at St Marys, with the Southern Expressway.
Mitcham Mayor Glenn Spear wants to make it easier for cars, bikes and pedestrians to cross South Road, stating “If the freeway goes through, people in and around Bedford Park will have a real problem getting out of their suburbs, we believe this needs to be looked at thoroughly” adding “We don’t believe the government has addressed all the residents’ concerns.”
Marion Mayor Kris Hanna said making it easier to travel between Flinders University and the Tonsley precinct was vital to attracting more companies to the area. He believes that the Darlington upgrade was long overdue but needed to be designed in a way that would help create jobs.
The councils are petitioning for a delay of the appointment of a preferred tenderer delayed until a new proposal, which it hoped would address issues such as local traffic flow and improved connectivity between Flinders University, Flinders Medical Centre, the Tonsley precinct and neighbouring suburbs, was available for review.
The Darlington section of the North-South Corridor is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2018, according to the Transport Department’s website. The Federal Government would spend $496 million on the Darlington project, while the State would contribute $124 million.
A spokesman for Transport Minister Stephen Mullighan said the government would consider alternative designs and make an announcement by the end of the month.