12/03/2008 - 22:00

Road network continues to expand

12/03/2008 - 22:00

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Western Australia has one of the largest geographically spread road networks in the world, covering around 2.5 million square kilometers and valued by Main Roads at $19 billion.

Road network continues to expand

Western Australia has one of the largest geographically spread road networks in the world, covering around 2.5 million square kilometers and valued by Main Roads at $19 billion.

Responsible for managing the road network in one of the fastest growing economies in Australia, Main Roads manages 17,800 kilometres of national highways and state roads.

This year, a number of major road projects are underway including the construction of the new Perth to Bunbury highway, which began on several sections of the alignment simultaneously to ensure it opens to traffic in 2009.

The new highway will provide an alternative route for regional traffic and relieve traffic congestion on the existing coastal road and South Western Highway.

The Southern Gateway Consortium (comprising Leighton Contractors, GHD and WA Limestone) was selected by Main Roads to join part of an alliance responsible for the delivery of the new highway.

The highway project will complete the inter-regional road link between Perth and the South West and improve the link to the Bunbury Port, strengthening its position as a viable alternative to servicing international trade.

A second major road project, construction of the Mitchell Freeway extension from Hodges Drive to Burns Beach Road, is well advanced and proceeding on schedule for completion in mid- 2008.

Macmahon Holdings has continued the process of community consultation started by Main Roads in 2004 which involves regular discussions with the Construction Reference Group.

In late 2007, Highway Construction Pty Ltd won the contract to build the 10-kilometre stage one of Indian Ocean Drive, with completion expected by May 2008.

The overall project involves the construction of about 65km of new sealed coast road from just south of Lancelin extending northward to join the existing Pinnacles Drive.

Stage two of the project involves the construction of the remaining 55km section, which will begin this year with completion scheduled for 2011.

Moving inland, the federal government has committed $98 million to the progressive upgrade of the Great Northern Highway.

The project involves the reconstruction, widening and selective realignment of significant lengths of the highway between Muchea and Wubin over the next two years.

Another major project in the Fremantle area involves the traffic bridge that was originally built in 1939 and upgraded in 1974.

The Fremantle traffic bridge is one of two important road traffic links across the Swan River in Fremantle.

Still in the design and planning phase, there are six potential options for the Fremantle traffic bridge including a new bridge and the use of the old bridge as a pedestrian and cycle bridge.

Plans to extend Reid Highway through Middle Swan by constructing a 2.6km dual carriageway between West Swan Road and Great Northern Highway is at the pre- construction tender stage.

The successful tender will be announced in May with completion expected towards the end of 2009.

Development of the industrial areas and residential estates in the north and north-east of the city has increased traffic load on all major arteries.

Reid Highway forms part of a planned transport network to improve access to areas in the middle and outer suburbs of Perth.

Officially opened by the Premier Geoff Gallop in 2005, the Geraldton Southern Transport Corridor received approval for work to begin on its stage two in late 2008, with completion expected in mid-2010.

Stage two of the Geraldton Southern Transport Corridor will involve the construction of a new highway from the North West Coastal Highway connection eastward through to the Geraldton- Mt Magnet Road near the Geraldton Airport.

Future infrastructure challenges for Western Australia include the growth in the road freight task, which is expected to increase at an even faster rate than the state’s economy, and changes in the commonwealth funding regime.

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