State Government commits to dual Bussell Highway
The State Government will push ahead with upgrading Bussell Highway into a dual carriageway, despite the project still needing Federal funding.
The South Western Times can reveal that today’s State Budget would include $4 million to start forward works on a 5km stretch of the highway next month.
The allocation answers long-standing calls for the notorious stretch of road between Capel and Busselton to be one continuous dual carriageway.
It also comes as the road last month topped RAC’s riskiest roads list for the second year running.
Transport Minister Rita Saffioti confirmed the Government would move on stage one of the Bussell Highway upgrade after identifying savings from the Bunbury Outer Ring Road project, which is still in its planning stages.
The plan proposes to roll the Bussell Highway dual carriageway project into the ring road project and the government will dip into Main Roads’ minor works budget to start work next month.
“Locals and visitors to the South West would be familiar with the dreaded bottleneck where the road narrows to one lane, which is badly exacerbated on long weekends,” Ms Saffioti told the Times.
“The McGowan Government has consistently called for Commonwealth funding towards this important project ... we are getting on with the job and will be optimistically working with the next Federal Government to allow the project to be rolled into the wider Bunbury Outer Ring Road project.”
With the Federal Government in caretaker mode ahead of next week’s election, Ms Saffioti said she was confident the highway would become a continuous dual carriageway.
“I think in the long run of course, it’s just a matter of securing the funds and working with the Commonwealth to secure funds and that’s what we’ve always tried to do,” she said.
“Of course these projects will happen, it’s just a matter of how we can accommodate it within what is a tight budget setting but also in our negotiations with the Commonwealth.
“Post Federal Election, we hope to be able to finalise all of this but in the meantime we’re going ahead with the pre-loading anyway.
Stage one will include a 5km stretch from where the dual lanes end in Capel at the moment to Hutton Road in Ludlow.
Ms Saffioti said the Government had listened to the issues raised by the community and local governments and was trying to address them.
“The congestion is an issue, there’s no doubt about that, it is an issue but also we want to continue to focus on improving safety on our regional roads,” she said.
“We can’t fix every problem straight away but we are trying to get a program to fix bottlenecks and in particular this is one that is often raised.”
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