Wheatbelt Secondary Freight Network improvements

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Western Australia freight network capacity
Priority Initiative
Location
Central South WA
Geography
Small towns, rural communities and remote areas
Category
National Connectivity
Problem/Opportunity timeframe
Near term (0-5 years)
Proposed By
RDA Wheatbelt
Date added to the IPL
26 February 2020

Problem

Western Australia’s freight task from the Wheatbelt Region relies heavily on the Wheatbelt Secondary Freight Network, which connects producers to the network of grain receival points, rail terminals and state highways. The network includes approximately 4,675 km of roads.

The types of freight transported across the region include grain, livestock, hay, lime and fertiliser. On average, 9 million tonnes of grain is produced in the region per year.

The Wheatbelt Secondary Freight Network faces a number of challenges, including:

  • growing and changing freight task

  • consolidation of grain receival facilities

  • increasing use of larger vehicles

  • pressure to increase supply chain productivity

  • poor road safety outcomes.

Currently, the surface condition, shoulder condition and width of roads throughout the network are largely inadequate for the heavy vehicle road task. Vehicle mass limits are also inconsistent across the network, forcing many producers to use lower mass and less efficient vehicles to move freight.

Proposed initiative

The program is for assessing and prioritising sections of the Wheatbelt Secondary Freight Network.

Potential options include:

  • addressing maintenance backlogs or implementing pre-emptive maintenance

  • partial road upgrades, such as cross-section improvements

  • full road upgrades, including geometric corrections

  • provision of new routes.

Next steps

Proponent to identify initiatives and develop options (Stage 2 of Infrastructure Australia’s Assessment Framework).