Whyalla residents have raised concerns about the amount of dust being created by Army vehicles at the Cultana Training Area, but the Army says measures are being put in place to limit the issue.
Local Justin Fennell and his wife Chrissy Kriticos were driving along the Lincoln Highway on Sunday afternoon when they encountered a thick cloud of dust which lowered visibility to dangerous levels.
Mr Fennell said Army trucks and Armoured Personnell Carriers were traveling along a dirt road next to the highway, stirring up dust which was then blown over the road.
“The dust was so thick, you couldn’t see a metre in front of your car,” he said.
“I understand the Army need to train but they need to think of public safety as well. It could cause a major car accident, and it would be very unfortunate if someone was killed.”
The Army vehicle activity was part of 1st Brigade’s Predator’s Run 2018 exercise at the Cultana Field Training Area north of Whyalla.
The exercise is scheduled to run from September 3-28 as the soldiers begin preparation for operational deployment and contingency tasks in 2019.
Mr Fennell suggested that water trucks could be placed on the side of the road to prevent dust being stirred up, or limiting the exercise overall.
An Army spokesperson said measures had been put in place to reduce the dust issue, including restricting vehicle movements away from the training area boundaries.
“Unfortunately the requirement for our vehicles to move across the Lincoln Highway from the eastern side of the training area to the west mixed with dry conditions means we cannot completely remove the dust problem, however we are actively trying to minimize it,” they said.
“If anyone encounters a dusty cloud on the Lincoln Highway, we ask that they reduce their speed until they are clear. We apologise to our good friends and neighbors in the surrounding community for any impact this has caused.”
Whyalla City Council CEO Chris Cowley said he appreciated the community’s concerns about the dust problem, and that council would work with the Army to ‘achieve a good outcome’.