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Federal Government Keeps Western Australia Moving

John Anderson

Deputy Prime Minister
Minister for Transport and Regional Services
Leader of the National Party


14th May 2002

The Federal Government will spend $179.1 million in 2002-03 on Western Australian roads, including extensions to the Roe Highway, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Transport and Regional Services, John Anderson, said today.

"We are focusing on transport reliability, safety, congestion, and efficiency, linked closely to the need to better integrate transport modes," Mr Anderson said.

"Western Australia's road freight task is growing at 7 percent per year and is set to double by 2020. Freight travel accounts for one in four kilometres of total vehicle travel.

"Freight movement is a high economic priority, driven primarily by the state's agricultural and mining industries. The opportunities to develop new economic growth areas and the cost-effectiveness of business activities will create extra demand for transport infrastructure into the future.

Extending the Roe Highway

"The Federal Government will spend $76 million over four years on the Roe Highway extension. The extension is a further stage in the strategic plan to improve freight movements around Perth, and remove trucks from routes not built to take them.

"The Government will provide $10 million in 2002-03 and a further $15 million in 2003-04 for the Roe Highway

Saving Lives with the Black Spot Programme

"The Government has kept its election commitment to continue the Black Spot Programme, which provides funding to improve dangerous locations on Australia's roads. The programme is estimated to have prevented more than 1,500 serious crashes during its first three years of operation. We will spend $180 million nationally on the programme over the next four years.

"Western Australia will receive $5 million in 2002-03 under the Black Spot Programme, which will undoubtedly save lives.

Duplicating the Great Eastern Highway

"Pre-construction activity, including design and acquiring land, is proceeding for a $34 million project to duplicate 13 kilometres of the Great Eastern Highway between Sawyers Valley and The Lakes. Construction is expected to start in 2003-04. When it is completed, almost 50 km of continuous four-lane road will stretch from Perth towards Northam.

"The Government will spend a further $5.7 million in 2002-03 on upgrading and widening sections of the highway between Tammin and Walgoolan.

Planning a new route for the Great Northern Highway...

"The Budget begins long-term planning for a new Great Northern Highway alignment through the Swan Valley, bypassing Bullsbrook, Muchea and Bindoon. While a planning study has determined the preferred route for the new corridor, which will reserve it and allow development to proceed locally with greater confidence, the Federal Government will continue to fund the current alignment.

"We will spend $5 million in 2002-03 for the ongoing widening and rehabilitation of the highway through the Swan Valley.

"The work complements the federally-funded widening programme for the Great Northern Highway between the Roe Highway and the Metropolitan Regional Boundary.

...but rural users of the highway are not forgotten

"We have not forgotten rural users of the Great Northern Highway. The Budget includes $5 million in 2002-03 for the rehabilitation of the highway in the Kimberley and the Pilbara.

"We will target areas around the Broome Highway junction, Fitzroy Crossing and the Victoria Highway junction. In the Pilbara, the worst spots to be upgraded are located near Cue, Meekatharra and Newman.

Bridging the Ord River

"The Federal Government has given early approval to the construction of a high-level Ord River bridge during the 2002 dry season, as part of a long-term programme to improve the flood immunity of bridges on the Great Northern Highway through the Kimberley.

"We will spend $13 million in 2002-03 to complete the 240 metre long bridge. It is scheduled to open in November," Mr Anderson said.

Other highway projects

In 2002-03, the Federal Government will spend:

  • $3.5 million for the Bindoon Hill realignment.
  • $4.9 million to rehabilitate the worst sections of the Eyre Highway. This completes the $50 million Stage 2 upgrading that has progressed since 1996-97. The Government will work with Western Australia to assess further upgrading requirements for this important freight route.
  • $28 million for routine maintenance works and safety improvements on the Great Eastern, Great Northern, Eyre and Victoria highways.

Local roads

"Local roads in Western Australia will receive $97.5 million in 2002-03 from the Roads to Recovery Programme and untied Local Road Grants," Mr Anderson said.

"The $1.2 billion Roads to Recovery Programme is the largest funding injection into local roads by any Federal Government. Local councils, rather than government bureaucrats, are responsible for identifying Roads to Recovery projects, because we recognise that local leaders are best placed to judge the needs of their communities."

Bridge upgrading

Mr Anderson said that all of the bridge upgrades on the Great Eastern Highway would be finished by July 2002, opening up a coast to coast freight corridor for heavy vehicles of higher mass between Perth and Melbourne.

"The Federal Government has provided $4 million nationally in 2002-03 to strengthen and upgrade bridges on other major freight corridors. The programme enables State and local governments to open up key regional freight routes for heavy vehicles operating at increased mass limits," Mr Anderson said.

A background briefing on the WA roads programme is attached.

Media contact: Paul Chamberlin 02 62777680


Roe Highway

In January 2001 the Prime Minister, John Howard, announced a $76 million Federal Government contribution towards completing the Roe Highway 'missing link'. At the time of this commitment, the Roe Highway project also included an eighth stage, from the Kwinana Freeway to the proposed Fremantle Eastern bypass.

The trade benefits of a direct link to the Port of Fremantle that would have been provided by the proposed Stage 8 of the Roe Highway extension was an important element of the Federal Government's decision to contribute to the project. However, the Commonwealth funding will still be provided despite the current State government's changed strategy for the Roe Highway.

The Roe Highway extension will be funded under the Roads of National Importance Programme. Federal funding began in 2001-02, while the bulk of the Commonwealth contribution will be provided during the next three years. The Federal Government's contribution is capped at $76 million and will be directed primarily to stages 6 and 7.

The highway is being built progressively in stages. The additional stages to be completed with the Federal Government funding are:

Stage 6 - Nicholson Road to South Street ($40 million). Contract award is expected by mid 2002, with an anticipated completion in the second half of 2004.

Stage 7 - South Street to the Kwinana Freeway ($58 million). Construction is planned to commence soon after the completion of Stage 6. The final alignment of Stage 7 is subject to the outcomes of the Metropolitan Freight Network Review and environmental clearances.

Stage 6 will incorporate full-diamond interchanges at Willeri Drive and South Street and traffic improvements at nearby intersections on Willeri Drive.

Stage 7 is likely to include a similar interchange at Karel Avenue, as well as a grade-separated connection with the Kwinana Freeway. These facilities will be designed especially to accommodate movements by heavy vehicles.

Perth to Darwin

Midland to Muchea: The Federal Government has committed a further $5 million in 2002-03 towards upgrading the remaining sections of the Great Northern Highway between Midland and Muchea. A $1 million contribution in 2001-02 allowed for planning, design and other preparatory work for what eventually will be a $21.2 million project. Additional funds have been earmarked in future years. Outstanding works involve widening and resurfacing the highway and possibly additional overtaking lanes.

Bindoon Hill realignment: About 90 km north of Perth, the Great Northern Highway climbs over Bindoon Hill, encountering the steepest grades through the Darling Range escarpment. Increasing heavy traffic movements brought about by carting agricultural lime from the central west coast to farmlands east of the Great Northern Highway has required urgent attention along this section.

Federal funding for the $7.2 million project was due to commence in 2002-03, but we were able to bring it forward. The Government spent $3.7 million on the project in 2001-02, and will provide $3.5 million in 2002-03 so it can be completed.

It involves:

  • realigning 3.9 km of the Great Northern Highway to remove substandard curves and dips;
  • widening the existing Bindoon - Moora Road intersection and construction of a 500 metre acceleration lane to improve access for B-Doubles carting agricultural lime; and
  • extension of the climbing lane ascending Bindoon Hill to allow heavy vehicles to ascend without slowing smaller vehicles.

A new crossing of the Bindoon River will be built also.

The project extends from the Bindoon-Moora Road intersection to a point four kilometres further north. The route serves as the National Highway corridor between Perth and Darwin, but is also travelled by an estimated 576,000 tourists annually.

Miling to Wubin realignment planning: The Federal Government has allocated $470,000 in 2002-03 towards the cost of investigating and designing improvements on the section of the Great Northern Highway between Miling and Wubin.

The work involves widening between Wubin and Miling, construction of passing lanes, realignment of substandard curves, intersection improvements and possible relocation of road train assembly areas. This will enable triple road train operations to extend southward an additional 70km to the town of Miling, providing efficiencies in the movement of valuable freight. Currently, triple road trains must break down into double road trains at the road train assembly area at Wubin.

Dalwallinu heavy vehicle bypass - More than 500 heavy vehicles a day have been removed from the centre of Dalwallinu, a service centre for the central north wheatbelt, following the recent completion of a $2.6 million heavy haulage route.

Bridges upgrading: The Federal Government announced a bridge upgrading programme for Western Australia's National Highway on 4 May 1999, costing $6.7 million over four years. A sum of $1.2 million will be spent in 2002-03. Bridges included in the upgrading programme are located at Gascoyne River/Middle Branch, Fortesque River, South-west Creek, South Creek and Turner River crossings on the Great Northern Highway in 2002-03. The programme will allow freight-efficient higher mass limit vehicles to operate safely between Kununurra and Perth.

Kimberley bridges programme: Some 550,000 tonnes of freight annually are moved over the Great Northern and Victoria highways, with up to 30 per cent of all vehicles engaged in commercial activity. As the northern horticultural industry expands locally and the need to transport perishable produce quickly to market increases, these routes will be essential to an expanding local economy.

The Great Northern Highway north of Broome is the only sealed road linking Western Australia and the Northern Territory and connects the mining and pastoral activities with the port of Derby and jet airports at Kununurra and Broome. Whereas in the past these industries were severely impeded by the annual Wet, they are being restructured to a 12-month cycle.

Closure of the highway for 25 days a year during the Wet is common. To reduce disruption to industry and the economy, the Federal Government is funding a Kimberley bridges strategy for the Great Northern Highway. It includes construction of a new 240 metre high-level bridge over the flood-prone Ord River, north of Halls Creek, to open in late November 2002.

The new bridge and three kilometres of approach roads are expected to cost $13.7 million. Construction will proceed during the winter months of 2002.

Perth to Adelaide

Although it does not carry traffic volumes as heavy as some other links in the National Highway system, this corridor remains a vital freight route between Perth and the eastern states. It also serves traffic movements between the eastern wheatbelt of Western Australia and the Eastern Goldfields region.

The Eyre Highway in Western Australia is the only sealed east-west road in this part of Australia and carries a high number of freight vehicles. Consequently, even minor delays can affect delivery schedules, transport efficiency and the local economy.

Between the border and Norseman, the main deficiencies are a narrow road seal and rough shoulders caused by the wear and tear of heavy transport vehicles that make up 45 per cent of the traffic stream.

The highway between Norseman and Coolgardie generally is in good condition. However, there is a need to reconstruct and widen sections of road around Coolgardie. Similar issues exist along sections between Coolgardie and Southern Cross, with roughness a particular problem being overcome through reconstruction and maintenance.

Upgrading works are proceeding progressively between Tammin and Walgoolan.

There is a need for additional overtaking lanes between Northam and Perth, with long-term planning required for a major deviation on Perth's eastern outskirts. A rehabilitation programme is under way. Some bridges are being strengthened also.

Great Eastern Highway - upgrading between Tammin and Walgoolan: The Great Eastern Highway has been reconstructed progressively from Meenaar to Walgoolan, with $50.8 million spent by 1998-99. By 1997-98, the road east and west of Tammin had been improved, but remained deficient through town.

In November 2001, a sum of $45.3 million was approved for this on-going programme of works on the Great Eastern Highway over 78 km between Tammin and Walgoolan. The money will fund a series of rehabilitation works that is scheduled for completion in 2006-07. $5.7 million will be spent on these works in 2002-03. Further work between Tammin and Kellerberrin is expected to start in October 2002.

Works to be undertaken include:

  • reconstruction, realignment and widening;
  • raising the vertical profile of some sections to reduce the road's susceptibility to flooding; and
  • replacement or upgrading of bridges and culverts to improve drainage.

The upgrading works will improve safety and the level of service for road users as well as reducing maintenance and freight transport costs.

Funding for the Tammin to Walgoolan upgrading was brought forward following delays on the proposed Sawyers Valley to The Lakes project.

Great Eastern Highway - Sawyers Valley to The Lakes: Involving highway duplication over a distance of 13 km, this $34 million project includes a new dual carriageway for the western six kilometres and a new carriageway to run beside the recently reconstructed single carriageway over the remainder. West Australian Government requirements relating to State Forest land means that construction of this project has had to be delayed until 2003-04. However, $1 million has been set aside in the 2002-03 Federal Budget for planning, design and land acquisition.

Black Spot Programme

The Black Spot Programme provides funding to improve dangerous locations on Australia's roads. The programme prevented more than 1,500 serious crashes during its first three years of operation. The Government will spend $180 million nationally on the programme over the next four years.

Western Australia will receive $5 million in 2002-03 under the Black Spot Programme.

Local Roads

Local roads in Western Australia will receive $97.5 million in 2002-03 from the Roads to Recovery Programme and untied Local Road Grants.

The $1.2 billion Roads to Recovery Programme is the largest funding injection into local roads by any Federal Government. Local councils, rather than government bureaucrats, are responsible for identifying Roads to Recovery projects, because the Government recognises that local leaders are best placed to judge the needs of their communities.