Victoria and New South Wales are planning to build highways designed exclusively for high-riding crossovers, based on the segment’s growing popularity among Australian consumers.
UPDATE: Those of you getting to this in late April, check out the publish date. And then keep reading, because there’s fun to be had!
In February, the SUV category accounted for 41.5 per cent of sales in Australia: streets ahead of passenger cars on 25.9 per cent.
Both the Victorian Labor and New South Wales Liberal state governments are responding, adjusting their infrastructure plans to accommodate the ever-growing horde of high-riding family haulers.
Neither state was willing to reveal which roads would be designated as so-called SUV superhighways, but documents obtained by CarAdvice through a long-running freedom-of-information campaign reveal the on-again, off-again East-West link in Melbourne will be the first.
The superhighways will be unsealed, with areas of 100-110mm deep ruts to deter anyone driving a non-SUV from entering. They’ll be carefully monitored to ensure no ruts deeper than 110mm emerge, lest someone in a Mazda CX-3 get stuck.
“We’ve been testing this strategy for years,” Daniel Andrews, Victorian Premier, told CarAdvice in an exclusive interview.
“Ever wondered why we don’t fix potholes? This is why,” he said, looking more smug than usual.
“These roads will be cheaper to build than conventional highways, and cater for at least 40 per cent of the motoring public.
“Think of them as the automotive equivalent of fibre to the node.”
Should the East-West superhighway be well received, there’s talk of gravelly, rutted SUV lanes on existing roads.
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