Alannah MacTiernan

Alannah MacTiernan

Minister for Planning and Infrastructure

    Coolgardie-Esperance Highway realignment near Grass Patch to boost safety

    21/07/2008 12:00 AM

    A $1million realignment of the Coolgardie-Esperance Highway is the start of a program that will see road train restrictions on the highway lifted permanently.


    Planning and Infrastructure Minister Alannah MacTiernan said the highway would be realigned at the Tom Starcevich VC Road intersection which provides access to the Cooperative Bulk Handling facility at Grass Patch. 


    Road trains of 36.5 metres length were usually banned from the intersection because the distance between the rail line and the highway is only about 29 metres, which means the rear of road train hangs over the highway when they are stopped at the crossing and over the railway line when they are re-entering the highway.


    “Reconstruction near Tom Starcevich VC Road will start early next year, but restrictions will be temporarily lifted in late October/early November 2008 for the coming harvest season,” Ms MacTiernan said


    “Main Roads and rail operator Westnet will again provide a radio call system, with on-the-ground ‘spotters’ alerting transport operators of train movements through the area.”


    “When a train is on its way, the spotter will radio trucks on a standard CB frequency and advise drivers to move away from the rail crossing zone.”


    The Minister said the intersection was the most critical of several along a 50km section of the highway where restrictions on road trains apply, and that funding for the other sites would be considered in future years.


    “The spotter arrangement worked last year, so it makes sense to repeat it at such an important time for farmers, road operators and the regional economy,” she said


    “But the reconstruction program is a better long-term solution to accommodate trucks of this length safely.


    Ms MacTiernan said that about 30 freight trains travelled through the area each week.


    Minister's office: 9213 6400