MILLIONS of dollars in state government funding will improve safety for travellers along nine Wheatbelt roads including Brand Highway and Indian Ocean Drive.
Agricultural region MLC Brian Ellis, who uses both highways regularly, joined Transport Minister Troy Buswell in York last week for the $41 million funding announcement.
Mr Ellis, who has offices in Geraldton and Moora, and whose family farms at Bindi Bindi, said $4.6 million allocated over two years to improve large and small vehicle separation on Brand Highway was welcome news.
Indian Ocean Drive, which has opened up the coastline to tourists and inland farming families, will benefit from a $3.5 million funding injection over two years to build a south-bound passing lane.
The biggest single project is $10.5 million to widen the seal on the York to Merredin Road between York and Quairading.
“As a driver who travels regularly along both Brand Highway and Indian Ocean Drive I am well aware of the risks of high speed vehicles on long country roads, and the huge distances emergency services must travel in the case of accident,” Mr Ellis said.
“The Barnett government is swinging into action with this initiative and, combined with Main Roads general funding, more than $180 million will be spent on Wheatbelt roads this financial year alone.”
The funding is part of the state government’s new Safer Country Roads initiative which combines several funding sources including Safer Roads, Local Roads, Royalties for Regions and the Road Trauma Trust Account.
Since the start of this month, 100 per cent of speed camera revenue has gone to the Road Trauma Trust Account.
“The Safer Country Roads initiative is about providing better, safer roads in regional Western Australia, to help reduce the social and economic cost of road trauma in the State and to ensure our regional road infrastructure continues to meet the growing demands of heavy vehicle traffic,” Mr Buswell said.