21/09/2009 - 08:38

State's biggest road project now open

21/09/2009 - 08:38

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The opening of the $705 million Kwinana Freeway extension and Forrest Highway on the weekend has marked the official completion of the State's largest road project.

State's biggest road project now open

The opening of the $705 million Kwinana Freeway extension and Forrest Highway on the weekend has marked the official completion of the State's largest road project.

In officially opening the new highway, Premier Colin Barnett and Transport Minister Simon O'Brien said it would significantly redefine Bunbury and the South-West's role in the future development of WA.

The Premier said the construction of this strategic piece of infrastructure would provide a world-class transport corridor, in the form of a continuous dual carriageway from Perth to Bunbury.

"The opening of the freeway extension and new highway will take 30 minutes off the journey between Perth and Bunbury and provide a much safer route," he said.

"It will significantly enhance tourism opportunities for the South-West region, one of the most popular destinations for Western Australians as well as interstate and overseas visitors."

Transport Minister Simon O'Brien said the project, the biggest road building program ever undertaken in WA history, had transcended three successive State and two successive Federal governments.

The project has been jointly funded by the State and Commonwealth governments, with the State contributing $375 million and the Federal Government $330 million.

"This has been a joint effort and I acknowledge the contribution made by the Federal Government and the Federal Infrastructure and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese," he said.

The Minister said the project was a credit to the thousands of men and women who worked on the project.

"More than 3,000 workers toiled for a combined 3.8 million man-hours without loss time injury to bring this project to fruition. Each and every one of them is to be congratulated on a job well done," he said.

Mr O'Brien said the Kwinana Freeway extension and Forrest Highway featured a number of engineering feats.

"The 70.5km of new dual carriageway features six interchanges, 10 intersections and 19 bridges," he said.

"More than 12 million tonnes of sand and one million tonnes of crushed rock base was used, while 27,000 cubic metres of concrete was laid. There is 32km of principal shared path for pedestrians and cyclists.

"The Murray River bridge is the biggest bridge constructed along the alignment and consists of two separate structures, each measuring 272 metres.

"The Serpentine River bridge consists of two separate structures, each measuring 112m."

Mr O'Brien said many local communities had already benefited significantly during the project's construction phase.

"The road builders awarded more than 372 contracts, with 36 per cent of these going to companies based in the outer metropolitan, Peel and South-West, representing a $105 million investment in the region," he said.

"Much of this has gone back into the local community, creating employment opportunities and supporting local business."

In officially opening the Kwinana Freeway extension and Forrest Highway, the Premier said that it should be viewed as a key moment in the State's transport history and reflected on the naming of the new linkage.

"Born in Bunbury, Sir John Forrest was our State's first Premier, a cabinet minister in Australia's first Federal Parliament and a man remembered for his exploration work through WA's interior," Mr Barnett said.

"It is highly appropriate that this vital road link to our State's South-West region should honour Sir John Forrest.

"This project is more than just simple road; it is an intergenerational investment in Perth and the broader South-West's future.

"May all those who travel on it do so in a safe manner."

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