SA group backs Kangaroo Island bridge

South Australia's SA-BEST party has backed a proposal to build a road bridge from the mainland to Kangaroo Island.

An ambitious plan to build 14-kilometre road bridge from Kangaroo Island to the South Australian mainland has been unveiled.

A consortium of local businesses are behind the $5 billion, four-lane proposal, which would include infrastructure to pump fresh water to the island and could include technology to harness wave energy in Backstairs Passage.

The idea has the backing of SA-BEST MP Frank Pangallo, who has hailed it as a nation-building project that would ensure Kangaroo Island reaches its full potential and becomes Australia's top tourist destination.

But the idea has been criticised by Kangaroo Island Mayor Peter Clements, who says the island community does not want the "mass tourism exercise" that a bridge would create.

"We're trying to protect something very, very precious over here on Kangaroo Island and this is all about our branding and about doing the right thing by the island," Mr Clements told ABC.

"A bridge is not going to do that, a bridge is just going to put money in the hands of a few people.

"It's a huge road toll, would put the ferry businesses out of business and it would just create a mass tourism exercise for Kangaroo Island that, quite frankly, is not what we want."

Universal Bridging Consortium member Jason Semanic, who has extensive experience with large-scale infrastructure projects, has come up with a proposed design.

He said the bridge would transform Kangaroo Island, allowing Adelaide residents to easily travel there for the day like they do to Victor Harbor and the Barossa Valley.

"To borrow a phrase 'build it and they will come' has never been truer with the project we are proposing," he said on Sunday.

The consortium said the bridge would also dramatically cut the cost of goods and services on the island and the travel costs for tourists.

Mr Pangallo called on the state government to fund a feasibility study, saying there was potential for the bridge to become "one of the modern wonders of the world".

The consortium said the bridge could be funded by a public-private partnership with some costs offset by charging a toll.

The preferred design, modelled on Greece's Rio-Antirron Bridge, would be built south of Cape Jervis on the Fleurieu Peninsula and span to an area southeast of Penneshaw.

About 205,000 people currently visit Kangaroo Island each year.

Published 22 July 2018 at 1:26pm
Source: AAP