Transport Minister Eric Charlton says more than half the highway between Bunbury and Mandurah is now constructed to dual carriageway standard as part of the Government's commitment to upgrading the Old Coast Road link.
Mr Charlton said today's official opening of the Australind Bypass duplication by Mitchell MLA Dan Sullivan marked another major milestone in the upgrading of the highway.
The $14.2 million section duplicates eight kilometres of the Australind Bypass from Millar's Creek to the Brunswick River and completes a continuous 43km section of dual carriageway north from Bunbury.
Mr Charlton said the Perth-Bunbury Highway was the busiest highway in regional Western Australia and its improvement and upgrading had been given a high priority by the State Government.
"About 6,000 vehicles per day use the highway and this number is expected to grow to between 23,000 and 28,000 per day within 25 years," he said.
"The Government's Additional Funding Program meant that work on new sections of carriageway at Australind and further north to Binningup and Myalup were able to be brought forward. "Another 21km of dual carriageway, north to Lake Clifton, is scheduled for construction from 1999 to 2001. At the same time, the Dawesville deviation over four kilometres between Mandurah and Lake Clifton will also be upgraded."
Mr Charlton said the program to upgrade the Perth-to-Busselton route was bringing significant transport efficiencies for the movement of freight. It also greatly improved road safety for the large number of local road users and tourists.
Main Roads Western Australia studies have shown dual carriageway routes are 60 per cent safer than multi-lane, undivided roads.
Mr Sullivan congratulated construction contractor Barclay Mowlem for its work on the Australind project.
"The eight-kilometre duplication required the construction of four new bridges," he said.
"The innovative incremental launch system of bridge building was used to build the biggest of the four bridges across the Collie River.
"The 128m bridge was constructed on the northern banks of the Collie River in nine sections which were then ‘launched' across the river, with each section pushed out at a rate of about 10 cms per minute.
"The rest of the work was also finished ahead of schedule and on budget." Mr Charlton said Perth, Bunbury and Busselton would eventually be linked by a continuous four-lane highway which would follow a proposed route extending south from Kwinana Freeway and east of Mandurah, joining the existing highway route near Lake Clifton.
Future projects on the Perth-Bunbury-Busselton included:
· upgrading Mandurah bypass to six lanes;
· duplicating Mandurah bridge;
· constructing the Peel Deviation;
· constructing the Bunbury Outer Ring Road;
· second carriageway from Capel to Busselton; and -
· constructing a bypass around Busselton.
Media contact: Doug Cunningham 08 9321 7333