Saffioti confirms Great Eastern Highway works

By: Rob McKay

WA transport minister pledges 75km of upgrades on national highway and seeks federal cash

Saffioti confirms Great Eastern Highway works
The truck rollover and accident Westonia shire CEO Jamie Criddle happened upon when gathering evidence of the poor state of the Great Eastern Highway


Western Australian transport minister Rita Saffioti says Great Eastern Highway works will cover the whole of a section that was the subject of a local council plea and has expressed confidence the under-fire Department of Main Roads.

After an impassioned plea for action from Westonia shire CEO Jamie Criddle that gained media attention in WA, Saffioti says that, in consultation with Main Roads, the state government is planning a large scale upgrade of the Walgoolan to Southern Cross section, a distance of 75km.

She adds that the recent state Budget included a 20 per cent overall increase in regional road funding across the state and insists Main Roads "continues to monitor the condition of all of the State’s highways and undertakes short term routine maintenance activities to maintain safe operations as required".

"It is a pity the previous Liberal-National Government allocated so little Royalties for Regions funding to address much-needed major road upgrades like this," Saffioti says in a statement sent to ATN.

"Nevertheless, the McGowan Government takes the upkeep of major regional roads seriously and is aware of the issues along parts of Great Eastern Highway.

"As such, we have imminent reseal works planned for sections of the highway as well as a funding application for a major overhaul submitted to the Federal Government.

"In consultation with Main Roads, the State Government is planning a large scale upgrade of the Walgoolan to Southern Cross section, a distance of 75 kilometres.

"The State Government has also identified this section as a priority project and is lobbying the Federal Government for funding for a much needed upgrade."

Recent project development work includes a submission to the federal government for funding of around $200 million to:

widen and improve the Walgoolan to Southern Cross section including provision of overtaking lanes and road over rail bridge improvements

widen and realign two sections of the highway east of Southern Cross between Ghooli and Benari

 improve the Coates Gully section between Clackline and Northam including bridge replacements and intersection improvements.

Work on the Walgoolan-Southern Cross section will focus also on replacing the ageing narrow pavement width seal of 7.2 metres with an 11-metre-wide seal on top of an 11-metre formation.

A funding submission has been presented to the federal government and will be considered in the Federal budget process in May 2018.

"In the meantime, planned maintenance work over the coming summer months will address the worst affected sections and maintain safety," Saffioti says.

"These works are scheduled annually by Main Roads throughout the State to address maintenance needs to ensure safety on the network.

Between December and January pavement and shoulder repairs will be carried out on priority areas of the highway totalling 1.8km between Walgoolan and Southern Cross.

A total of 32km of pavement edge and shoulder repairs were completed this year and a further 15km of work will be done over summer.

Works next summer will include a start to a realignment of the highway at Carrabin as well as an intersection improvement in the town costing more than $2 million, the minister concludes.

Criddle’s letter to ministers contained photographs of worn Great Eastern Highway surfaces and road shoulders.

In the course of gathering photographic evidence, Criddle found himself at the site of a truck roll-over following an accident involving a caravan, though there is no indication or evidence that the road was a factor in the accident accident.


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