Transport Minister Eric Charlton today released the final report of the Regional Road Development Strategy for the Great Southern which identifies servicing the tourism industry as a key issue.
The document is the seventh in the series covering each of the State's regions as part of the program known as ROADS 2020.
So far Mr Charlton has released the Mid-West, Gascoyne, Pilbara, Kimberley, Wheatbelt and South-West and Peel strategies.
In the Great Southern Strategy, community consultation highlighted a number of transport issues relating to economic, community, tourism and safety needs.
The strategy identified 147 road development proposals with most of the work involving upgrading existing roads that vary in standard from gravel roads to narrow sealed roads.
Key road development projects identified as a result of the work done in the preparation of the strategy included:
· upgrading of Lake King to Norseman Road to a minimum trafficable standard for tourism purposes;
· upgrading and sealing of access roads leading to grain receival points;
· construction of bridge over Culham Inlet;
· installation of a concrete overlay and reinforced embankments to Gairdner River Bridge;
· upgrading of access roads to the coastal tourism destinations of Two Peoples Bay;
· Frenchman's Bay, Ocean Beach Lookout, Culham Inlet and Bremer Bay;
· installation of passing lanes and extra road width on Albany Highway, Chester Pass Road and Hassell Highway to increase capacity and improve safety;
· upgrading of roads in Stirling Range and Fitzgerald River National Parks;
· construction of a Heavy Vehicle Bypass to the Town of Mount Barker;
· upgrading of roads to Mindijup mineral sands mine site;
· upgrading and sealing Jingalup Road heavy haulage route;
· construction of first stage carriageway for Yakamia Drive, Albany;
· construction of second stage carriageway on Resident Drive, Albany; and -
· upgrading of Lower Denmark Road grain haulage route.
The ROADS 2020 program is a co-operative venture between Main Roads Western Australia and local government, which is aimed at meeting the needs of road users to the year 2020.
Mr Charlton said the Great Southern strategy reflected widespread community opinion on the earlier publication of a draft report.
The strategy focused on roads of regional significance in the Great Southern and looked at the development of this network and how it inter-connected with similar roads in the adjoining regions.
"Environmental sensitivities, social equity and public safety have been key considerations in planning for the future development of the region's road network," Mr Charlton said.
"A major focus in the region is the servicing of the tourism industry. The strategy has identified where new road links are needed in addition to upgrading works for existing roads.
"The strategy is intended to help guide State and local government decision-making on the investment of road funds."
Mr Charlton said that investment in roads was one of the most efficient ways of improving economic performance.
"Road investments create new industry development opportunities, increase industry competitiveness and productivity, generate new jobs and improve the standard of living for the community," he said.
The strategy is to be reviewed on a regular basis in response to changing needs in the region through such things as new mining developments, new industry, diversification in agriculture, tourism and possible shifts in other modes of transport.
Media contact: Doug Cunningham 08 9321 7333