Wubin locals mount fight against proposed bypass route

By: Steve Skinner


Wubin bypass map A map of the Wubin upgrade options. Source: Sue Schmidt. Wubin bypass map
Wubin hook up facility The hook-up facility at Wubin won’t be needed after the highway upgrade. Wubin hook up facility

Popular Western Australian roadhouse is at risk under Great Northern Road upgrade option.

 

An option to bypass the tiny Western Australian village of Wubin is being resisted by locals, truck drivers and other travellers.

Main Roads WA is upgrading the crucial Great Northern Road, and within a few years it’s expected the improved highway will allow triple road trains to travel all the way from Muchea near Perth, to Wubin.

At present the road only caters for double road trains, which use Wubin as a changeover point to attach a third trailer and head further north.

The nearby BP roadhouse is a popular place for truck drivers to rest while they have a coffee, meal and even a shower.

According to the organisers of a petition, the department’s favoured option is to bypass the roadhouse.

Under this option, a realigned highway will pass at the outskirts of town with an intersection to allow vehicles to go into Wubin (see the orange route on the map).

This option will involve entering triple road trains having to turn around at the current changeover area before returning to the same intersection.

Locals fear that under this scenario triple road trains will not bother to detour in at all.

They want Main Roads WA to go for another option (the blue route on the map), which continues the highway through Wubin but builds in a gradual sweeping bend, so that trucks do not have to negotiate the current sharp intersection at the public changeover pad.

BP Wubin manager Sue Schmidt tells Fullyloaded.com.au she has collected about 1,500 signatures in a petition sitting on the main counter of the roadhouse.

She says those signing include not just truck drivers but caravan owners, grey nomads, the general public and even several police officers.

Schmidt says in a letter to local MP Shane Love that an upgraded highway continuing  through Wubin "is the option everyone wants".

"Granted, Main Roads have included an intersection for traffic to detour to town on their preferred option, but we foresee problems with triples negotiating this intersection along with cars and caravans. Most people do not realise how long a triple road train is.

"Another concern we have is the livelihood of the town. Without the through flow of trucks, mining vehicles, caravaners, holidaymakers and general travellers, the town will become non-existent as a viable place to live and work, and another small town and its population will be wiped off the map thanks to bureaucratic intervention."

Schmidt also points out that under WA law truck drivers must have a half hour break every five hours, which means Wubin will need to be their first fatigue stop.

A statement from Main Roads WA says the Muchea to Wubin upgrade will be of national highway standard, "with particular consideration given to freight and larger oversize vehicles and improving road safety".

"Main Roads is working with the community and stakeholders, including the transport industry and Wubin residents and businesses, to identify a preferred option for highway improvements in the vicinity of Wubin including requirements for the safe movement of trucks in Wubin town site.

"It is anticipated the preferred option will be recommended to the WA minister for transport in July 2015."

 

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