Following an independent review process Infrastructure Australia has added the Western Australian Government’s proposed road upgrade, the Bindoon Bypass as a priority project on the Infrastructure Priority List.
It has also added the Queensland Government’s Peak Downs Highway Realignment Project (Walkerston Bypass) to the list.
The proposed Bindoon Bypass aims to increase freight efficiency and productivity by enabling access for triple road trains for the entire trip between Muchea and Wubin on the Great Northern Highway.
Currently drivers are forced to stop at Wubin to decouple and reconfigure their vehicles into smaller truck and trailer configurations such as double road trains for this section of the highway.
The Western Australia Government estimates the cost of this problem will sit at $62 million by 2025, and expects it to grow to $86 million by 2045.
The scope of work includes 61.6 kilometres of new highway to the west of Bindoon, comprising a single carriageway in each direction, along with 4.4 kilometres of infrastructure improvements to the existing highway, two grade-separated intersections and 13 at-grade intersection upgrades.
New bridge structures and 12 kilometres of service roads also form part of the design. Additional safety enhancements will include overtaking lanes every five to 10 kilometres and four new rest stops suitable for accommodating light vehicles and road trains.
In welcoming the project on the list, Infrastructure Australia Chief Executive, Romilly Madew, drew attention to the strategic role that the Great Northern Highway plays in linking Perth’s metropolitan area and Australia’s north-west.
“Due to the significant growth of the resources sector in Western Australia, there continues to be considerable demand to move freight along the Great Northern Highway corridor between ports located in the metropolitan Perth area and the north-west of the state, such as Port Hedland, Cape Lambert and Dampier,” Ms. Madew said.
The Walkerston Bypass in Queensland includes a 10.4 kilometers realignment of the Peak Downs Highway from West of Walkerston to the Mackay Ring Road at Stockroute Road.
Ms. Madew said the Peak Downs highway is the primary freight corridor between Mackay, the Bowen Basin and Galilee Basin minerals provinces in Queensland.
“Right now we know Walkerston is already dealing with serious safety, capacity and connectivity issues due to the sheer amount of heavy and dangerous vehicles that travel along this section of the highway and with freight numbers expected to increase, the impacts are only going to get worse.”
After an assessment of the project’s business case, Infrastructure Australia was able to endorse the bypass as a priority investment.
The bypass design will have one lane in each direction and will accommodate vehicles with very large loads.
Other features of the proposed bypass include provision of approximately 1.5 kilometres of four lane carriageway between Homebush and Bergmans Roads, four at-grade intersections, grade separation at Bergman’s Road and Walkerston-Homebush Road and four new bridges. It will also relocate cane rail infrastructure with the provision of an underpass.
“By diverting traffic away from Walkerston’s main street, the new bypass will provide increased freight capacity, more direct connectivity for large vehicles, increased flood resilience, improved freight efficiency, safety and amenity benefits for the local residents as well as create an opportunity for urban expansion,” Ms. Madew said.