Are faulty Outback signs putting nomads at risk?

Published: October 15, 2016
Oodnadatta Track sign

Grey nomads travelling in the Outback could be having their safety compromised by faulty road signs along iconic dirt tracks.

Nearly all of the 32 satellite-operated signs notifying motorists of road conditions along the Oodnadatta, Strzelecki and Birdsville tracks have reportedly been inoperable since August 31.

The Adelaide Advertiser says residents in small, isolated communities along the tracks have been forced to manually change the signs to safeguard motorists from bogs, flat tyres and treacherous conditions.

The Transport Department acknowledged 28 road signs along the tracks and throughout the Gawler and Flinders Ranges were not working, but said it was fixing the problem. The issue has been caused by a fault with the satellite provider.

The department thanked the local communities for their help changing signs as necessary and providing up-to-date information about road status.

With water flowing into Lake Eyre and temperatures still relatively cool, hundreds of travellers are still visiting the area. However, locals say the road sign confusion and lack of mobile phone coverage to check road status online has discouraging many more from visiting.

“This issue has a huge impact on safety and it needs to be one of the largest priorities in the upper north due to the lack of mobile and data coverage,” said William Creek resident, Trevor Wright told the Adelaide Advertiser. “Visitors and locals rely on the signs as a means of decision making which can affect their safety and ability to transit large areas.”

Mr Wright said local communities reliant on tourism had felt the effect of motorists changing their travel routes if signs said roads were closed, when they should be open.

About 527,000 people travel through the Flinders Ranges and outback and spend $304 million each year, according to SA Tourism figures.

·        Have you come across Outback signs not working as they should? Do you feel your safety s being compromised? Comment below

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