A major new infrastructure project in eastern Adelaide is set to permanently remove part of the original Grand Prix course. Rundle Road – better known to race fans as the Jones Straight on the street circuit – will be replaced by a parkland boulevard as traffic is re-routed and a new guided busway built.
The AUS$160 million dollar project is aimed at alleviating chronic congestion to the city's East End and provide a more reliable route into the centre for the 'O-Bahn' bus system. More than 3,000 metres of land will be returned to parkland under the proposals, which are now out to public consultation but could be completed by the end of 2017.
Announcing the scheme, South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill said it would help to encourage greater public transport use. "We know we need to get more people on to public transport and convince them to leave their cars at home to reduce congestion and carbon emissions in and around our city," he said.
The full Grand Prix course was used by Formula One from 1985 to 1995 and proved hugely popular with fans and teams. One of the most photographed backdrops was the Stag Hotel, with its ornate listed balconies which overlooked the circuit as it joined Rundle Road. Although the circuit was revived as the home for V8 Supercars' Clispal 500 in 1999, a shorter 3.2km route was used, in part to save costs and also to reduce the impact on city congestion.
The Grand Prix circuit was briefly revived in December 2000 however, when Adelaide hosted the 'Race of a Thousand Years' for Le Mans Series sportscars, though the event proved a one-off, No further attempts to run the longer course, with all efforts focusing on the more compact layout.
The O-Bahn City Access project is not expected to impact on the route of the Clipsal 500, an event which is calculated to bring over AUS$36 million in economic benefit to the State of South Australia each year.
VIDEO: Adelaide City Access project explained