Marino backs Mettam’s call for Bussell Highway upgrade

Forrest MP Nola Marino has entered the debate surrounding the dualling of Bussell Highway between Capel and Busselton.

Mrs Marino said her hands were tied unless the state government made the project a priority.

“I’ve been fighting to upgrade the Bussell Highway for many years,” she said.

“The federal government funds major roads that are a priority of the state government.

“I’ve written to the WA Transport Minister asking her to prioritise this project. Unfortunately this project isn’t a priority of the state government.”

It comes as the issue was raised in state parliament with Stephen Dawson answering questions on behalf of Transport Minister Rita Saffioti.

Parliament heard the average weekday traffic count along the stretch was approximately 14,000 vehicles per day.

The largest recent traffic counts recorded were on 27 December 2017 and 2 March 2018, when approximately 20,000 vehicles per day were recorded.

It was said in parliament that from January 2013 to December 2017, there have been 134 crashes, including four fatalities and 15 hospitalisations. Echoing Premier Mark McGowan’s comments that long weekend traffic was a ‘fact of life’, Mr Dawson said congestion on this section of road during long weekends was well known.

“Drivers are encouraged to plan their journey and allow extra travel time to and from their destination,” he said.

When contacted by the Mail, Ms Saffioti said Bussell Highway would be considered along with other high priority improvement projects across the WA road network in future Budget processes.

The stretch of Bussell Highway was named as one of WA’s top 10 most risky roads in RAC’s 2016/17 Risky Roads survey.

RAC Public Policy general manager Anne Still said Main Roads WA had identified the stretch as a safety concern and said all levels of government had a role in providing the funding needed to improve the safety of WA roads.

“Given WA consistently has one of the worst fatality rates in the country we should always be looking at how we can better prioritise and address road safety issues, especially in regional areas where, in 2017, more than half of all road fatalities occurred,” she said.

Ms Mettam said the Easter long weekend would be another reminder of how vital the upgrade was as traffic travels nose to tail along the single-lane carriageway out of Busselton to Capel.

“This should be funded through Main Roads,” she said.

“Government funding for important projects should not stop in Liberal seats because there has been a change of government.”

Source: Busselton Mail.