Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce announces stage one complete for Bussell Highway duplication

In June 2020, Busselton resident Helga van Schoor was happy to hear about the funding announcement after she was badly injured on Bussell Highway. She is pictured with Vasse MLA Libby Mettam, Priya Scott, Magnus Scott and Saffron Ferguson. Picture: supplied.
In June 2020, Busselton resident Helga van Schoor was happy to hear about the funding announcement after she was badly injured on Bussell Highway. She is pictured with Vasse MLA Libby Mettam, Priya Scott, Magnus Scott and Saffron Ferguson. Picture: supplied.

The road trip 'down south' will be slightly easier this Christmas with stage one of the duplication of the Bussell Highway now complete.

The first stage saw the construction of a new five kilometre section of the highway, duplicating the road from south of Spurr Street to Hutton Road.

The $85 million project is 80 per cent funded by the Australian Government and 20 per cent funded by the Western Australian Government.

More than 15,000 vehicles use that stretch of highway each day.

The duplication will increase capacity and safety, as well as provide for safer overtaking opportunities between Bunbury and Busselton.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Barnaby Joyce said the Australian Government was partnering with the state to fast-track regional, shovel-ready projects.

"Infrastructure projects such as this one get money flowing into jobs and businesses as soon as possible, while strengthening the economy in the long run," he said.

"We are continuing to roll out major projects nationwide under our $110 billion infrastructure investment pipeline, laying the foundations for recovery on the other side of COVID-19.

"When the Bussell Highway duplication is complete, road users will experience a safer, smoother and less congested run to and from the South-West."

WA Minister for Transport and Planning Rita Saffioti said the project was supporting up to 570 direct and indirect jobs during construction.

"Over the past 12 months, we've seen an unprecedented amount of work being undertaken across our South-West," Minister Saffioti said.

"Heading 'down south' is something we've all done and we're all excited to do. I'm thrilled that this new road will make that adventure quicker, smoother and safer for generations to come."

Federal Member for Forrest Nola Marino said that the Bussell Highway was notorious for traffic congestion and extended travel times, particularly on Friday afternoons and long weekends.

The Bussell Highway between Capel and Busselton was labelled one of WA's riskiest roads by RAC for multiple years. Now in December 2021 the first stage of the duplication is complete. Picture: file.

The Bussell Highway between Capel and Busselton was labelled one of WA's riskiest roads by RAC for multiple years. Now in December 2021 the first stage of the duplication is complete. Picture: file.

"This project will help keep more local road users safe and really benefit our local communities by helping to reduce the lengthy delays they often experience during holiday periods," Mrs Marino said.

"We are committed to improving travel times and safety for all Western Australians and I'm excited to see the first stage of this project play a big part in that."

WA Member for Collie-Preston Jodie Hanns said that, when complete, the new road would provide benefits for local residents and tourists alike.

"The south-west continues to be a popular holiday destination and completion of this project will make a big difference to those heading away," Ms Hanns said.

"Over the peak holiday periods the number of vehicles surges to more than 23,000 vehicles a day, so this will really change the drive down south."

Early work has commenced on Stage 2 of the project, which involves construction of the remaining 12-kilometre section between Hutton Road and Busselton, along with the duplication of three bridges over the Abba, Sabina and Ludlow rivers.