RAC lists Outer Ring Road ‘critical’

THE proposed Bunbury Outer Ring Road has again been listed as a priority with the RAC labelling the project “critical” with traffic volumes expected to increase “significantly” over the next decade.

The organisation’s call follows the release of Infrastructure Australia’s 2018 Infrastructure Priority List last month that details a $55 billion pipeline of infrastructure investments, including the bypass road.

RAC has highlighted the road as one of the critical transport projects as part of its 2018 Federal Priorities for Western Australia.

It says Federal Government funding is urgently needed for the project to help solve the transport challenges facing the South West.

The 17km bypass road has been labelled as the solution to traffic and heavy vehicle congestion between Forrest Highway, Robertson Drive and Bussell Highway and has been in the pipeline for decades.

RAC corporate affairs general manager Will Golsby said traffic volumes around Bunbury were forecast to increase significantly over the next 10 years.

“Increased population and traffic volumes will reduce the efficiency of the existing road network, adding further pressure to the area,” Mr Golsby said.

“Investment in the Outer Ring Road will provide an alternative route for traffic, assist to deliver further freight efficiencies and ultimately help to make the connecting roads safer.”

Mr Golsby said expansions at Bunbury Port in the future were likely to necessitate the closure of Estuary Drive, diverting traffic onto Forrest Highway and further reducing the efficiency of the existing network. Main Roads WA could not confirm before print yesterday whether there were plans to close the road.

The project was boosted by $12.5 million for planning last year.

Forrest MHR Nola Marino said she had been fighting for the project for several years and it had always been one of her top priorities.

“I want to see it come to fruition,” Mrs Marino said.

Source: South Western Times.