South Australian road network maintenance

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Maintenance backlog and preventative maintenance
High Priority Initiative
South Australia
Smaller cities and regional centres
Asset Renewal
Problem/Opportunity timeframe
Near term (0-5 years)
Proposed By
SA Government
Date added to the IPL
26 February 2021
South Australian road network maintenance


There is a large and increasing backlog of maintenance on the national and state-owned roads in South Australia, which is increasing costs for road users.

Over 75% of these roads are life‑expired and the total backlog of priority works was estimated in 2019 at over $700 million.

Roads in poor condition lead to higher vehicle operating costs, travel times, safety risks and potential resilience issues for traffic.

The 2019 Australian Infrastructure Audit found that a historical underspend on preventative maintenance, short budgetary and funding cycles, a lack of data and incentives, and inadequate reporting have contributed to a maintenance funding backlog across infrastructure sectors

This initiative is complementary to the High Priority Initiative for a National road maintenance strategy, which is separately included on the Infrastructure Priority List and identifies road maintenance issues for national, state and local roads across Australia.

Proposed initiative

Potential options to address the initiative include a program of works to prioritise and invest in maintenance upgrades across the South Australian road network.

The prioritisation of road maintenance projects should consider technical, economic, risk, safety and policy criteria to optimise economic benefit and economies of scale.

Next steps

Proponent to identify initiatives and develop options (Stage 2 of Infrastructure Australia’s Assessment Framework).