City rues Bunbury Outer Ring Road call

Kate FieldingSouth Western Times
Transport Minister Rita Saffioti has confirmed southern route of the Bunbury Outer Ring Road.
Camera IconTransport Minister Rita Saffioti has confirmed southern route of the Bunbury Outer Ring Road. Credit: Neil Watkinson / Kalgoorlie Miner

Mayor Gary Brennan says Bunbury City Council is “extremely disappointed” after State Government decisions on the long-awaited Bunbury Outer Ring Road.

Transport Minister Rita Saffioti this week scrapped an alternative southern alignment for the bypass road and has decided to stick with the existing road reserve, which has been in the pipeline for decades.

It is hoped a number of changes, including moving the Gelorup connection from Hasties Road to Centenary Road and protecting a big tuart tree in Gelorup, will ease community concern over the project.

The project team has been investigating the two possible corridors for the past year with both options receiving community scrutiny.

The existing road reserve is identified in the Greater Bunbury Region Scheme while the alternative was located east of the original plans.

Ms Saffioti used the announcement also to reveal new north-facing ramps at the Raymond Road interchange near Meadow Landing and plans for signage and landscape to promote Bunbury as a key destination.

It comes as the council last year raised its concerns over the proposed northern intersection with fears it was convoluted and would not keep Forrest Highway as the predominant road into Bunbury.

Mr Brennan yesterday raised concerns over both routes saying the Centenary Road interchange did not appear to be an “attractive” option, while also expressing strong concern at the northern section.

“It’s not really going to be an attractive alternative for residents of Bunbury on the southern end of our city to get on to the outer ring road,” he said.

“And the city council is extremely disappointed that the northern intersection between the outer ring road and Forrest Highway has remained unchanged which takes away the primacy of Forrest Highway leading into our city.

“Our main focus remains that intersection ... to have that arrangement some 18km from our city centre is simply not acceptable.

“The northern alignment places Bunbury at a considerable disadvantage and traffic congestion concerns need to be balanced with the local tourism, business and economic implications for our city.

“City council are very disappointed with this outcome.”

He said having signage was an expected inclusion of the project.

Mr Brennan also said the council would be further considering the project as a “matter of urgency” at its meeting next week.

Ms Saffioti said the BORR team had been working hard with local members and the community and completed “comprehensive” investigations and environmental surveys.

Other changes to the project will include the “partial or full” duplication of Bussell Highway.

The Government is yet to refer the amended plans to the State and Federal environmental regulators.

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