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