Infra minister not surprised by North-South Corridor costing

Infra minister not surprised by North-South Corridor costing

South Australia's Infrastructure Minister admits that he will not be surprised if costings for the North-South Corridor blowout are above the $9.9 billion budgeted, but he says he is yet to receive revised costings.

A cost increase was already forecast in this year's state budget, but Tom Koutsantonis refused to confirm reports that the project cost would escalate to $14 billion.

Koutsantonis said the Department for Infrastructure and Transport had not advised him of cost estimates because a project review was commissioned when the Labor government came into power in March.

He took aim at the previous government's $9.9 billion estimate, saying designs were deliberately left out to minimise costs before the election.

He cited towering overpasses and one-lane exit lanes that would be unworkable and expensive to design and build.

He told ABC Radio Adelaide that he's not surprised it'll be more than $9.9 billion.

The grid between Goodwood Road and Marion Road will grind to a halt if we don't do something in that section between Anzac Highway and Tonsley. He said choke points along South Road on Richmond Road, Anzac Highway and James Congdon Drive are urgent and need to be fixed. He said that a cost-benefit analysis returning a ratio of less than one means that the costs outweigh the benefits of going ahead was news to him.

Department for Infrastructure and Transport chief executive Jon Whelan said he did not have a specific figure on the project cost or an updated cost benefit ratio at this stage.

The cost of the Torrens to Darlington stage blew out from $8.9 billion to $9.9 billion under the former Liberal government while Mr Koutsantonis announced that the start of the project would be delayed by a year to 2024, with the completion date set around 2031.

Final costings and a revised reference design will be available in a few weeks.

Vincent Tarzia, the Opposition's infrastructure spokesman, wants the government to come clean about what caused the cost blowout, he said. "We haven't seen any facts to back up a $4 billion blowout," he said.

All of our information was that the project was ready to go and locked and loaded.

It was signed off by independent bodies and you don't go and secure billions of dollars from the federal government unless it is ready to go. More properties will be acquired.

Tunnels would remain a part of the design on the sections of roads south of Anzac Highway and western suburbs.

There will be tunnels, the final design is for us, he said.

It would be impossible to do a lowered roadway section through Mile End, Torrensville and Thebarton because of the historic landmarks there. The minister said more properties would need to be acquired but some properties may be saved from the cut.

For the southern end, all the properties that had been identified to be acquired will still need to be acquired, for Glandore all the way through to Tonsley. The infrastructure department chief executive said further investigations will be done on acquisitions required north of the Anzac Highway.

Mr Whelan said they would avoid moving the cemetery of Hindmarsh.

After their analysis is submitted to cabinet, the department will do another community consultation.