Finally, funding to dual the Bussell Highway

Busselton resident Helga van Schoor, who was badly injured in a head on collision on the Bussell Highway, with Vasse MLA Libby Mettam, Priya Scott,, Magnus Scott and Saffron Ferguson. Image supplied.
Busselton resident Helga van Schoor, who was badly injured in a head on collision on the Bussell Highway, with Vasse MLA Libby Mettam, Priya Scott,, Magnus Scott and Saffron Ferguson. Image supplied.

The Federal Government has committed $68 million to dual a stretch of the Bussell Highway between Busselton and Capel supporting 570 jobs and opportunities for local businesses.

The funding is part of a new $1.5 billion Australian Government infrastructure package to provide an injection into the economy and bring jobs back online to help stem the impact of COVID-19.

Forrest MP Nola Marino said getting shovels in the ground on local construction projects was important for maintaining jobs and economic growth in the South West.

"Every single job that we support makes a huge difference in our local communities - now and as we navigate out of the pandemic," Mrs Marino said.

"The project that will benefit our South West will be Stage 1 and 2 of the Bussell Highway duplication.

"This project will construct second carriageway from Capel Bypass to Hutton (Stage 1), and Hutton Road to Sues Road (Stage 2).

"The Australian Government will contribute $68m of a total of $85m for this important road infrastructure.

"These types of infrastructure projects will be also particularly crucial for helping us bounce back after the COVID-19 crisis has ended by ensuring we have the safe transport connections needed for all Australians to keep moving."

The project will include construction between the Capel Bypass and Hutton Road, along with reconstruction works for a section of the existing carriageway.

Preparation works, including design and environmental approvals, for stage two of the project are continuing.

The second stage includes construction of the remaining 12-kilometre section between Hutton Road and Busselton, along with three bridges.

The McGowan Government completed $4.5 million worth of pre-construction works on Bussell Highway earlier this year, paving the way for the next stage of the project to commence.

Busselton resident Helga van Schoor campaigned for funding to dual the highway after she and three of her children were seriously injured in a head on collision south of Capel in April 2017.

Ms van Schoor started a petition for the highway to be dualled which garnered 6,000 signatures.

She said the funding announcement had made her day and if felt surreal that her family's devastating experience had turned into something positive.

"My petition broke the record for all the petitions ever run from Vasse MLA Libby Mettam's office," she said.

"If you want Busselton to open up to tourism with the airport it is really bad to have infrastructure that is unsafe.

"What's happened now is the government has backed the community by stepping up and funding the project so it can be finished, it just makes sense."

Ms van Schoor said dualling the highway would make tourists, locals and visitors from Perth safer

"It was really a big safety thing, it is good that the Government responded and is doing something about it, which I am thankful for," she said.

"I would really like to give Libby Mettam a big plug, it wasn't me I just drove the campaign, Libby was the one that kept pushing.

"I am really grateful to Libby I could not have had a better person helping me through this difficult time."

Vasse MLA Libby Mettam thanked Forrest MP Nola Marino for her support for the funding and the many people, including Ms van Schoor and the 6,000 petitioners who have joined me over a number of years in advocating for this important road upgrade.

"This stretch of highway has consistently been identified by the RAC as one of the riskiest roads in the state," she said.

"It is a strategic freight and tourism route and it is vital that this road has finally been prioritised by the state government."

South West MLC Adele Farina said with more than 15,000 vehicles using the Bussell Highway daily, the construction of the much awaited second carriageway would make travel along this road safer.

"Once complete, not only will the Bussell Highway dual carriageway greatly improve road safety, it will ensure free-flowing traffic throughout the South West especially at peak times," she said.

"This project is important for the whole region and will deliver critical investment to the region creating local jobs as the region recovers from COVID-19."

Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said the state government worked hard to lobby the Commonwealth for this funding and she was pleased they had come to the table on this project.

"With funding in place for this project, and construction of the Bunbury Outer Ring Road commencing next year, travel within the South-West region will soon become safer than ever before."