On Saturday, Federal Opposition leader Tony Abbott said on a hit-and-run visit to Perth that if the Coalition is elected to Government next month it would make the bypass a major priority and contribute $615 million to its construction.
The State Government confirmed in this month’s budget it would allocate $96 million to the bypass, meaning the majority of the $800 million major piece would then be fully funded.
Main Roads WA confirmed last week it would construct the full, 37km section of the Perth-Darwin Highway from Reid Highway to Muchea in a single stage. It had previously signalled the highway would be rolled out in two stages, starting with the section from Gnangara Road to Muchea.
The two-stage rollout came under heavy criticism from local residents and the City of Swan, both of which suggested the plan would only shift traffic congestion from Great Northern Highway to Gnangara Road.
Transport Minister Troy Buswell said construction of the bypass would begin in 2015.
‘This (Federal) funding will mean that the whole project ” from Reid Highway right through to Muchea, including three big interchanges on the southern part of the road ” can be done without the project having to be staged,’ Mr Buswell said.
A Main Roads spokesman said the State Government’s initial funds would be used for project development and pre-construction activities, including planning, design, land acquisition, accommodation works and procurement.
WA Premier Colin Barnett described Mr Abbott’s election promise as ‘a tremendous undertaking.’
‘The Perth to Darwin Highway will be a tremendous boost for the Swan Valley. It will separate heavy vehicles and big trucks from suburban traffic and really break the traffic bottlenecks in the eastern suburbs.’
Swan Hills MLA Frank Alban said Mr Abbott’s pledge was ‘great news for locals’.
‘It’s great news for tourists, too, who want to enjoy the beauty of the Swan Valley without the noise and disruption of heavy vehicles, and truck drivers will appreciate a better route through the metro area to the Great Northern Highway,’ he said.
The Advocate contacted the Labor Party for comment, but none was received at the time of going to print.
The bypass is expected to be completed by mid-2019.