Transport Minister Eric Charlton has officially opened the first in a string of planned major upgrades to the east-west haulage and tourism routes which run from the coast near Lancelin through the agricultural farming belt.
Today's ceremony marked the sealing of the Mogumber West Roads and the Mogumber-Yarrawindah Road which were previously a gravel surface. The new roads are part of the Lancelin-Goomalling route.
"Sealing these routes is an important part of the Transform WA program and will provide a significant social and economic boost for the region," Mr Charlton said.
"Under Transform WA four road transport routes from the central coast to the wheatbelt are being upgraded over a four year period at a cost of $25million to provide more efficient and safer access for the cartage of vital agricultural lime sands.
"In 1996/97 approximately 100,000 tonnes of lime sands used for soil enhancement were carted from the coast to the wheatbelt and in 1997/98 this increased to approximately 150,000 tonnes.
"Over the next five years it is anticipated this will increase substantially to approximately 1 million tonnes per annum," he said.
Mr Charlton said the current development of the agricultural lime routes would help secure the long-term viability of farming in the region.
The four routes being upgraded are:
· Lancelin to Northam via Gingin, Bindoon and Toodyay;
· Lancelin to Goomalling via Mogumber West Rd, New Norcia and Calingiri;
· Cervantes to Burakin via Badgingarra, Moora, Bindi Bindi and Ballidu; and -
· Jurien to Dalwallinu via Watheroo Road, Carot Well Rd and Bell Rd.
"There will be improved east-west access between the Brand and Great Northern Highways, allowing alternative linkage to the tourist destinations of New Norcia and Lancelin," Mr Charlton said.
"This improved road network will provide easier access to lime sands as well as to major grain receival facilities at Calingiri, Mogumber and Northam.
"An added benefit will be improved local commuter linkage to the coastal holiday resort towns of Guilderton, Seabird, Ledge Point, Lancelin and Cervantes from the Wheatbelt area surrounding Northam, Toodyay, Calingiri and Goomalling."
Works on the east-west lime sands routes will be completed in 2000/01.
Media contact: Doug Cunningham 9321 7333