Steps are being taken to ease severe traffic congestion through Mandurah on the Perth-Bunbury Highway during busy holiday periods and motorists are also being urged to consider alternative routes.
Planning and Infrastructure Minister Alannah MacTiernan said drivers’ patience was sorely tested on Boxing Day, the Tuesday holiday and Wednesday this week, when larger than usual volumes of traffic converged on Mandurah, causing lengthy delays.
“Many of these road users were holiday-makers heading south of Mandurah, but the situation was compounded by a major music concert in the coastal town and shoppers heading for the post-Christmas sales on Tuesday and Wednesday,” Ms MacTiernan said.
“Traffic volumes through Mandurah at peak holiday times increase by about 10,000 vehicles per day to 40,000 vehicles per day.
“That puts a great deal of increased pressure on the highway through the city, as well as local streets.”
The Minister said Main Roads WA had responded appropriately to problems earlier in the week by adjusting the timings of traffic signals along the highway through Mandurah, in an attempt to minimise disruption and delays to road users.
Early in the New Year, Main Roads officers would meet with the City of Mandurah and Mandurah Police to explore any additional strategies to address future holiday congestion.
“I would hope these talks result in something positive to put in place before the next major traditional holiday traffic crush in Mandurah - Easter,” Ms MacTiernan said.
“In the interim, Main Roads is preparing for the coming New Year long weekend, when traditionally a lot of people return from the South-West on the holiday Monday.
“Main Roads traffic operations officers will be positioned strategically along the highway through Mandurah, to feed information directly back to their Traffic Operations Centre in Northbridge on traffic flows and behaviours at the nine signalised intersections through the city.
“This will assist traffic managers in the operations centre in manually adjusting the timings of these signals.
“Also, I would encourage some people returning to Perth on Monday to consider using the South Western Highway as an alternative route home.”
Ms MacTiernan said the ultimate solution to the problem of through-traffic at Mandurah was the construction of the new Perth-Bunbury Highway, with construction expected to start in 10 months’ time.
“This project involves construction of more than 70km of new freeway and rural highway from Safety Bay to Mandurah, bypassing the city to the east of the Peel Inlet and Harvey Estuary, connecting on to the existing dual highway at Lake Clifton,” the Minister said.
“It will provide major improvements to safety and travel times by removing freight and through traffic from the heart of Mandurah.”
Ms MacTiernan said the Government was close to deciding on a preferred proponent for the $450million project.
“This is the single largest road infrastructure project undertaken in WA, and it will not be completed until 2009,” she said.
“However, we are examining ways in which we can stage the opening of the project to provide early relief to motorists.
“In the meantime, the challenge is for Main Roads and others to manage peak traffic congestion through the City of Mandurah until the highway is constructed.”
Minister's office: 9213 6400