Political discussion has flared again over the north-south corridor project, with debate raging over funding and timing of the plan to connect Gawler to Old Noarlunga with a direct highway.
However, new roadblocks have arisen in relation to the compulsory acquisition of properties along corridor flagging important issues for anyone planning to buy real estate along any main road.
In The Advertiser article, Contested Buys Could Take Years, it’s been reported that settling of some acquisitions might take two years or even longer.
As a conveyancer, there are some lessons here I’d like to place firmly in the headlights.

When can a government buy my land against my will?

According to the Law Handbook of South Australia, authorities such as Transport SA or a local Council can ‘acquire’ your land or place easements, right of way or other licence on your land, even against your will. There is obviously a specific process that needs to be followed by the particular authority to do this.
Most importantly if you’ve been officially notified of a ‘notice of intention to acquire [your] land’ you must inform any prospective buyers, tenants or mortgagees. It is an offence not to disclose this information.
In the case of north-south corridor acquisitions, we are hearing that non-contentious acquistions take around 14 months while contested ones are likely to drag on for years.
To someone whose company prides itself on facilitating smooth, efficient and timely settlements, the prospect of such drawn out negotiations strike me as particularly burdensome.

Common sense suggests their might be a better route than buying main road property

It is very important for any prospective purchaser of a property along a major road to do extra due diligence before heading for the home stretch in a sale.
One of the most prudent things to do is to investigate whether there are any proposed road widening plans by the local Council and/or State Government.
Retailers and professionals seeking main road frontage might decide to take the risk but residential purchasers and rental property investors might be wise to think twice.
As conveyancers, we can have a look at the statutory searches from the State Government and the relevant local Council on your behalf which is yet another reason why forging a long-lasting relationship with a conveyancer can pay itself back many times over.
If there is a planned road widening project then there is a high chance that some or all of your would-be property could be compulsorily acquired to enable the roadworks to occur.
And while the future is typically hard to predict, we can be sure that as our population continues to grow we are going to see more of these type of projects throughout Adelaide.
Photo: Xaragmata via Flickr, tram over South Road, 2009