The State Government will proceed with planning the Bunbury Outer Ring Road’s southern alignment through the existing road reserve following extensive investigations and consultation.
A number of changes to the preferred alignment have been made, including moving the Gelorup connection from Hasties Road to Centenary Road and the protection of a locally valued large tuart tree.
Since July 2018, the BORR Team has been investigating two possible corridors for the southern section of Bunbury Outer Ring Road – the existing road reserve within the Greater Bunbury Region Scheme and an alternative corridor further to the east.
State Government departments have worked together to undertake comprehensive investigations and environmental site surveys along both proposed corridors, and concluded both alignments had similar environmental values.
The existing ‘red’ corridor has been in place in the Greater Bunbury Region Scheme for years and has been reviewed a number of times.
It will now be subject to further project development and design before an alignment is referred to State and Federal environmental regulators. This process also offers the opportunity for further public comment.
Community consultation to date has resulted in a number of changes to road design, including:
- The protection of a tuart tree in Gelorup identified as important to the local community;
- New north facing ramps at Raymond Road interchange, reducing traffic using Raymond Road near Meadow Landing;
- Development of a signage and landscape strategy to promote Bunbury as a key destination;
- Partial or full duplication of Bussell Highway to be included in project scope;
- Less impact on Gelorup residents by moving Hasties Road connection to Centenary Road; and
- Maintain east-west connectivity between Bussell Highway and South Western Highway.
The BORR project team has committed to wide ranging engagement with local government, freight industry, business groups and local communities over the past 12 months and this will continue into 2020 as the project is developed for construction.
As stated by Transport Minister Rita Saffioti:
“A forensic examination of both the existing corridor and alternative route took place over the past year.
“While the existing road reserve has been in place for decades and received previous approval, it was necessary to examine a feasible alternative due to the recent elevation in the conservation status of the western ringtail possum to critically endangered.
“Local members such as Bunbury MLA Don Punch, Collie-Preston MLA Mick Murray and Murray-Wellington MLA Robyn Clarke have each made representations for their respective communities.
“We have also sought input from the many local governments, including City of Bunbury, Shire of Dardanup, Shire of Harvey and Shire of Capel in a bid to maximise the benefit of the road to each area.
“We have also sought to adjust the alignment so it does not impact the tuart tree in Gelorup, which the community has shown is a local treasure.
“We acknowledge the uncertainty generated by the investigative process for the southern section alignment in the community over the past year and thank residents for their co-operation and assistance during this time.
“Stage 1 of the Bussell Highway Duplication Project will reduce congestion and eliminate a traffic pinch point where the highway meets Tuart Drive, the alternative route to Busselton.
“It was a previous Labor government that built the Forrest Highway, and it will be the McGowan Labor Government that builds the Bunbury Outer Ring Road.”