Risky road title again is highway robbery

Kate Fielding and Sophie ElliottSouth Western Times
Traffic banks up on Bussell Highway near the Sues Road intersection as visitors leave the region after the long weekend in 2017.
Camera IconTraffic banks up on Bussell Highway near the Sues Road intersection as visitors leave the region after the long weekend in 2017. Credit: Supplied / Ben Martin

Bussell Highway between Capel and Busselton has again topped RAC’s riskiest roads list, sparking a blame game as to who will fund upgrades for the continuous dual carriageway.

As holidaymakers prepare to make what is fast becoming the dreaded trip south for the Easter long weekend, the notorious stretch of road has been labelled the most dangerous in regional Western Australia for the second year running.

In the latest RAC Risky Roads survey of more than 6000 motorists, concerns over the ill-fated stretch of road included a lack of overtaking opportunities, narrow lanes and poor traffic separation.

The results appear to be raising more questions than answers, with no one accepting responsibility to fund upgrades.

Capel shire president Murray Scott has even accused the governments of “banging their heads together”.

Forrest MHR Nola Marino told the South Western Times that unless the State Government committed funding, upgrades would not happen.

“I’ve written to the WA Transport Minister (Rita Saffioti) asking her to prioritise this project,” Mrs Marino said.

“Unfortunately, WA Labor have proven time and again that this project isn’t a priority of the State Government and unless the State Government come to the table with funding, this project will not progress.

“I have been fighting to upgrade the Bussell Highway for many years and I will continue to do so.”

Ms Saffioti said the State Government was “disappointed” the Federal Government had not committed any funding.

“The State Government understands the keenness from the South West community to get the Bussell Highway upgrade under way and we are currently considering our options for the upgrade,” Ms Saffioti said.

“It is worth noting the McGowan government allocated record funding to roads in WA regions as part of last State Budget, which will continue as part of the upcoming budget.”

Collie-Preston MLA Mick Murray blamed the previous Liberal-National government for leaving the highway “untouched”, saying that decision was “absolutely appalling”.

“It’s my strong view that the previous government got it completely wrong and should have made it safer for drivers to get to Margaret River instead of putting a road around Margaret River,” Mr Murray said.

“I do agree that this area should be upgraded but we’ll have to wait for funds to become available.”

Mr Scott said something had to happen. “It is no good blaming each other, government has got to get together and make it happen,” Cr Scott said.

“One thing is for certain, I won’t be on the roads, or that road, this weekend.”

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