Wheatbelt roads to be upgraded thanks to nearly $5m in Regional Road Safety funding


Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester, Shire of York President David Wallace and Pearce MHR Christian Porter.
Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester, Shire of York President David Wallace and Pearce MHR Christian Porter.

PROJECTS to upgrade a Wheatbelt road will receive almost $5 million through the Regional Road Safety package.

Pearce MHR Christian Porter and Federal Infrastructure and Transport Minister Darren Chester visited Greenhills last Wednesday, October 11 to announce funding for the York Merredin Road.

Mr Porter said there would be upgrades on a 1.2km section of the road near York and a 4.5km section near Dangin because there had been 183 crashes on it between 1989 and 2015.

The two projects will get $2.5 million and $2.4 million respectively, with $3.9 million of the total from the Federal Government and $1 million committed by the State Government.

“The projects will be part of a larger staged program to widen road shoulders, install audible edge lines, tackle roadside hazards and trial audible centrelines between York and Quairading,” Mr Porter said.

“This project is one of 16 to be delivered under the Regional Road Safety Package, which will be 80 per cent funded by the Australian Government.”

Durack MHR Melissa Price said the shoulder upgrades and audible line marking would improve driving conditions for all road users.

“Run-off-road crashes involving vehicles colliding with trees has been the major factor in many accidents and most fatalities on York Merredin Road,” she said.

“Focusing on audible line marking, upgraded shoulders, and addressing roadside hazards will save lives.”

Mr Chester said 16 projects funded through the Regional Road Safety package were selected based on an assessment of crash risk and road safety audits.

“We are committed to better, safer roads to reduce the number of crashes leading to deaths and serious injuries,” he said.

State Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said the projects included in the package had been prioritised based on factors such as economy of scale, deliverability and cost effectiveness.

“The upgrades will include improvements to major regional routes such as the South Western Highway, Railway Road, Indian Ocean Drive, Brand Highway, Great Northern Highway and the North West Coastal Highway,” she said.

The MPs had previously announced a $7 million funding allocation to add four passing lanes on Indian Ocean Drive in September.

The Federal Government has committed $44.2 million and the State has committed $11.05 million to fund the Regional Road Safety package for upgrades between 2017-18 and 2019-20.

Motoring agency RAC welcomed the funding package and corporate affairs general manager Will Golsby said last year 60 per cent of road fatalities occurred in regional WA.

“This funding acknowledges the urgent need to address the devastating impact of road trauma in our regions,” he said.

“In particular we are pleased to see attention being paid to areas such as the Wheatbelt, and roads like Indian Ocean Drive.

“The Wheatbelt has consistently had an unacceptable road safety record.

“Over the past five years, 146 people have been killed while driving on Wheatbelt roads.

“In the case of Indian Ocean Drive, this long stretch of road has a particularly tragic crash record.

“In RAC’s recent Risky Roads survey, the community nominated it as the fourth-riskiest road in regional WA, and seventh-riskiest road in the entire State.”

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