Transport Minister Eric Charlton said today that the State was about to move another step closer to completing an alternative alignment through the Darling Escarpment for the Perth-Adelaide National Highway to eliminate the need for heavy vehicles to travel up and down Greenmount Hill.
Mr Charlton said detailed planning would begin soon to define an alignment for the Federal Government project along the old railway reserve to the north of Great Eastern Highway between Clackline and Wooroloo.
This would ultimately link to the existing future highway reserve which skirted the Perth hills to the north-east and linked Wooroloo to the Roe Highway.
"The $160 million Orange Route project, as it is known, is a Federal Government responsibility and we have to push hard for Commonwealth funds to be made available to build it," Mr Charlton said.
"When completed the Orange Route will provide a transport route between Northam and Perth which eliminates the impediment of Greenmount Hill.
"Main Roads will define the Clackline-Wooroloo alignment for inclusion in the Shire of Northam Town Planning Scheme in preparation for the future four-lane divided road between Perth and Northam.
"A recently-completed State Government study showed the proposed alignment along the rail reserve to be the best option and one that the community generally accepted."
The Minister said that special emphasis was being placed on environmental issues, especially the protection of Koojedda Swamp which was near the proposed new alignment.
Mr Charlton said the proposed route would also take the highway north of Bakers Hill, which had been favoured by many local residents during public consultations.
Media contact: Doug Cunningham 9321 7333