Oodnadatta Track Signs

Just came down the Oodnadatta Track, I am very annoyed at whoever is responsible for the track condition signs at Marla. aired down at the servo, turned onto the track only to find the sign saying the road was closed between Marla & Oodnadatta.

Back Tom the servo, asked if they knew anything about the closure, they had no clue, so aired back up & headed down the highway to Cadney Park. The signs on the access road to the Oodnadatta indicated that the track was open all the way from Marla to Maree.

Not only did this cost me time, but also fuel. Who is responsible for keeping these signs updated? Considering the fines for driving on a closed road is expensive, the least they can't do is keep the signs updated. Macca.
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Reply By: Been-Everywhereman - Sunday, Sep 03, 2017 at 07:32

Sunday, Sep 03, 2017 at 07:32
Yep I'm hearing you. About 7 years ago the road was closed from Birdsville to Mungerannie but was open from Mungerannie to Birdsville. If each state has a different idea that causes some confusion.
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Follow Up By: Les - PK Ranger - Sunday, Sep 03, 2017 at 07:44

Sunday, Sep 03, 2017 at 07:44
oooh, that is annoying !
We had it too coming out of BV last year, the big sign said closed to Mungerannie !
We checked outback roads page online, says open.
We call roads maintenance to confirm, they say open.
So we go.

We found out once, that those big signs are controlled form Adelaide electronically, using data from numerous properties in the area, they use rainfall, and other weather conds like wind speed, temps, to decide to close and reopen those major tracks.

Another time, road care to Mung, open all vehicles after there to Marree.
The lower section was absolutely terrible, should have been closed for sure, but we had to push through once down it.
One double B tanker truck bogged in the middle of the tk, there were vehicles coming up it all slid off the road, tilt tray coming up the track sideways to rescue them, an army recovery vehicle too coming up to help too.

Then we get to Marree, the short section there to Lyndhurst is closed, BOrefield closed, they might be open tomorrow, or maybe 3 days says the pub, all you can do is watch the big signs for change.
So we take a 500+ detour to get home on the open William Ck - Coober Pedy rote, and it is absolutely atrousious, many sections from Pained hills to Coober under water, deep and very wide mud sections, had issues with the vehicle electronics, epic trip home next 30 hours.

I thought to myself, the Lyndhurst road or even borefield would have been far better, but rules are rules on these roads, so nothing you can do.
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Reply By: Ozi M - Sunday, Sep 03, 2017 at 09:02

Sunday, Sep 03, 2017 at 09:02
last month when we went down the Birdsville Track the road signs said Open all the way to Marree

When we got to Mung... the road sign going back up to BV said closed, when we got to Marree the signs said open all the way to BV

The sign at Mung was obviously wrong as the track was in good nick all the way.
AnswerID: 613482

Follow Up By: Member - nick b boab - Monday, Sep 04, 2017 at 08:24

Monday, Sep 04, 2017 at 08:24
we had same thing in June of this year but was able to call to find road was open .
Cheers Nick b
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Reply By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Sunday, Sep 03, 2017 at 12:02

Sunday, Sep 03, 2017 at 12:02
Hi Macca

It is a real problem that is ongoing. Last year in August when we were returning back to the Oodnadatta Track from Coober Pedy, we had the very same issue there as well, when the sign showed the Oodnadatta Track closed between William Creek and Marree.

We had driven the full length of the track two weeks previous and we knew that no rain had fallen anywhere along the track since we were last on it. No wanting to be fined for travelling on a so called "Closed Road" we phoned the William Creek Hotel and told them the situation.

The very friendly and helpful lady said she would go outside and see what the signed said at their end.....and you guess it, every road was open. Perhaps if it happens to you again, you may want to phone ahead as we did to see what the road is like that end.




Cheers



Stephen




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Follow Up By: Ozi M - Sunday, Sep 03, 2017 at 16:17

Sunday, Sep 03, 2017 at 16:17
We were OK as the BV end said it was open all the way and I always take a photo of the sign when we are leaving.

I also usually have it on my dash cam which I aim at the sign while a take a photo so if anyone wants to argue I can show it was open when I left.

Mind you, sometimes I need the headlights and the flash working to get a decent photo.

If it hasn't rained overnight there is no reason to change so off we go.

I did get chased by the rain once on the Oodnadatta track, every time I stopped for a photo after William Creek it started to rain on me so I went down Borefield Track and when I got to Roxby Downs it absolutely poured down.

All the dirt roads were closed for 3 days, bit lucky there :)
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Reply By: Dion - Monday, Sep 04, 2017 at 12:35

Monday, Sep 04, 2017 at 12:35
The signs belong to DPTI, did you ring the 1300 number on the sign?

Having found the sign about 18 months ago showing the road was closed, I called the 1300 number (go to the source, not the servo operator who is not an agent for DPTI) and found that as I expected, the road was open and would have been passable to a Mini, let alone a high clearance 4WD.

I actually made my phone call from a 3G phone standing in front of the sign.
AnswerID: 613517

Follow Up By: Les - PK Ranger - Monday, Sep 04, 2017 at 18:08

Monday, Sep 04, 2017 at 18:08
Of course this is the best option if unsure, although the signs should be correct of course.
Marree is an issue with no coverage, all you can do there is hope the pub (getting asked a million times a day !) will patiently check the outback road conditions page for you.
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Follow Up By: Zippo - Monday, Sep 04, 2017 at 21:01

Monday, Sep 04, 2017 at 21:01
Marree should have cellphone coverage in Q1-2018.

For those not familar with the rollout of phase 2 of the blackspot program, this link shows the Optus sites (except Oodnadatta, which has been operating for 18 months or so as their small cell pilot).

The old mantra "it's Telstra or nothing in the bush" is being eroded quite quickly.

(I have both Optus and Telstra when travelling, and a satphone.)
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Follow Up By: Les - PK Ranger - Monday, Sep 04, 2017 at 22:16

Monday, Sep 04, 2017 at 22:16
That would be handy to keep an eye on the DPTI website page, but unlikely anyone but Telstra will ever have as good a mobile gsm coverage in general, they will keep their monopoly if possible.

Was there supposed to be a link above Zippo ?
To Optus page ?
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Follow Up By: Zippo - Tuesday, Sep 05, 2017 at 00:08

Tuesday, Sep 05, 2017 at 00:08
Yep, the old problem of hitting "send" before checking thoroughly, just like emails without the attachment(s).

http://www.optus.com.au/shop/mobile/network/mobile-black-spot-program

Zoom and explore.
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FollowupID: 884024

Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Tuesday, Sep 05, 2017 at 07:32

Tuesday, Sep 05, 2017 at 07:32
Hi Dion

There is not phone coverage in all locations for these signs, which can cause big problems, as we know not everyone carries a Satelite phone, thus rendering their so called phone numbers useless. The reason for this post is to show just how unreliable the accuracy of these signs can and has been, and someone from the DPTI should take the resonsiblitity to make sure of their accuracy.

Two such locations that I personally know that fit my situation are Mungerannie, with no phone coverage on the Birdsville Track and access to the Painted Desert and further out to the Oodnadatta Track around 5 kilometres south of Cadney Park on the main Stuart Highway.

I know that there are more such places that we have seen over the years, but can not think of them at the moment.




Cheers




Stephen
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Reply By: Member - McLaren3030 - Saturday, Sep 09, 2017 at 15:16

Saturday, Sep 09, 2017 at 15:16
Thank you to all who have responded, some very useful advice. I must admit, I did not call the number at the bottom of the sign, even though I carry a Sat. Phone. So frustrated, that the road was supposedly closed, that I did not think to ring. A good lesson for next time.

I continuously checked the S.A. Road conditions website, and had checked it only three days before at Yulara when I had coverage, the web site said the road was open, but finding the sign saying the road was closed three days later, and not knowing why put doubt in my mind. As the fines are so heavy, we decided not to risk it.

Macca.
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Follow Up By: Les - PK Ranger - Saturday, Sep 09, 2017 at 20:43

Saturday, Sep 09, 2017 at 20:43
May be an idea to programme the road conds # into your sat phone directory (along with others like RFDS etc).
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