The Western Australian Government has invested $17.5 million in a further seven projects to improve safety on regional roads.
The seven projects have been identified as presenting a higher risk for run-off crashes and will target high-risk locations across the state’s regional road network.
The latest allocation brings the WA Government’s 2019-20 investment in regional run-off roads to $42.5 million.
Each of the latest seven projects have been funded from the Road Trauma Trust Account (RTTA) and will upgrade approximately 60km of regional road.
Projects have been identified and prioritised based on having an above average single vehicle run-off road crash risk using Main Roads modelling.
Road safety treatments to be carried out include road widening, shoulder sealing and the installation of safety barriers, audible lines and pavement markings.
Construction of the projects is scheduled to begin this financial year and include roads in the Great Southern, South-West, Goldfields-Esperance, Mid-West, Wheatbelt and Pilbara regions.
The latest allocation of $17.5 million complements other works underway in the 2019-20 financial year to mitigate single vehicle run-off road crashes.
In 2020, the WA Government has committed a further $25 million for shoulder widening and audible edge lines along a number of key regional routes.
These works – already underway or nearing completion – include upgrades to Indian Ocean Drive, Great Eastern Highway, Brookton Highway, South Western Highway, Pinjarra-Williams Road and Collie-Lake King Road.
WA Transport Minister, Rita Saffioti, said this investment represented a record investment in regional roads, with more than $2 billion allocated in the last Budget.
“These safety upgrades will work with our other major road projects across the state to keep motorists safe and provide a more efficient regional network,” Ms Saffioti said.
WA Road Safety Minister, Michelle Roberts, said single vehicle run-off crashes are one of the biggest causes of fatal and serious injury crashes in regional Western Australia.
“We’re seeing more and more crashes caused by simple errors of judgement or moments of inattention. Safety treatments like widening the road, installing safety barriers and sealing the shoulders will create a safer environment on those high-risk roads,” Ms Roberts said.
In 2017, 46 people were killed and 280 people were seriously injured in run-off road crashes in regional Western Australia.
The RTTA receives 100 per cent of revenue from speed and red light camera infringements to invest in initiatives which deliver a road safety benefit.
Calls for greater federal investment
The WA Government continues to seek a funding partnership with the Federal Government to accelerate delivery of the Regional Road Safety Program.
The proposed partnership would upgrade 17,000km of regional road and drastically reduce regional road trauma. It would be delivered over nine years at a cost of a total of $100 million a year.
The WA Government has stated that a federal contribution of 80 per cent – in line with many other joint infrastructure projects – would be more than covered if the Federal Government redirected the $1.2 billion it has reserved for the Perth Freight Link, which is currently not proceeding.
Every year, the WA Government devotes a significant portion of the RTTA budget for safety treatments to the state’s regional roads and is making steady progress.
“We could significantly expand these works with the implementation of a Federal-State partnership,” Mr Roberts said.
“Minister Saffioti and I have written to the Federal Transport Minister and urge him to allocate this much needed funding.”