Following an independent review process, Infrastructure Australia has today added the Western Australian government’s proposed road upgrade, Bindoon Bypass, as a Priority Project on the Infrastructure Priority List.
The Infrastructure Priority List provides governments at all levels with a prioritised list of nationally-significant investment opportunities for the near, medium and longer term.
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 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 with existing road alignments and gradients between Wubin and Muchea currently unsuitable.
“As it stands we are seeing drivers forced to stop at Wubin to decouple and reconfigure their vehicles into smaller truck and trailer configurations, such as double road trains or even smaller vehicles for this section of the highway,” Ms Madew explained.
“This operation decreases freight productivity and efficiency since more truck trips are then required to deliver the same freight task, leading to an overall net increase in transport costs per unit of freight transported.” 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.
“It’s not only about cost and efficiency we also know these additional truck trips between Muchea and Wubin increase the safety risk and potential number of accidents for vehicles travelling through Bindoon and other sections of the corridor,” Ms Madew said.
Specifically on the Bindoon section of the corridor, heavy vehicles comprise approximately 66% of the total traffic.
The scope of work includes 61.6 km of new highway to the west of Bindoon, comprising a single carriageway in each direction, along with 4.4 km of infrastructure improvements to the existing highway, two grade-separated intersections and 13 at-grade intersection upgrades.
New bridge structures and 12 km of service roads will also form part of the design. Additional safety enhancements will include overtaking lanes every five to 10 km and four new rest stops suitable for accommodating light vehicles and road trains.
Infrastructure Australia is currently developing the 2020 Infrastructure Priority List, which is due for release early next year.