TRUCKERS who travel the Strzelecki Track up to 80 times a year say the famous route is in the worst condition they have seen it.
The isolated track is the state's toughest road trip and one of its most vital - an eight-hour crawl to cover 350km to the Moomba gas fields.
Up to 30 heavy truck movements a day carrying vital equipment to the natural gas extractor break up the road's dirt cap and leave large tyre-piercing rocks scattered across its surface.
On average, trucks blow two tyres a trip, transport contractor Wayne Betts says. His two heavy haulers used on the track chew through 100 tyres a year.
"I've been driving Strzelecki Track since 1977 and I have never seen it this bad in long sections," he said.
Mr Betts warned valuable transport contracts could be at risk if repairs and ongoing maintenance of the Strzelecki Track from Lyndhurst to Moomba is not a priority.
"To come in to Moomba from Queensland, there's only 130km of dirt. It is all bitumen through Queensland ... we could lose these transport contracts and services," he said.
Rain is the only real answer to give maintenance crews a chance to repair the road with wetted road base, but too much rain would threaten to close the road for up to six weeks as it did in 2010 when large sections were washed away or left underwater.
Lyndhurst Hotel publican Adrian Kellow says more work needs to be done to maintain the Track. "It is a vital transport route that should be maintained better," he said.
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