The largest road infrastructure project undertaken in the Great Southern region of Western Australia – the Albany Ring Road – is officially open to motorists. 

The ring road has delivered a free-flowing, 11km connection between the original section of Menang Drive east of Albany Highway and Princess Royal Drive, including three grade-separated interchanges at Albany Highway, South Coast Highway and Hanrahan Road. 

The northern section of the ring road, between Albany Highway and South Coast Highway, as well as the new Frenchman Bay Road interchange, opened to traffic before Easter, resulting in an immediate improvement in traffic flow.

The new road will divert heavy vehicles around Albany, improving freight efficiency and underpinning the long-term economic viability of Albany Port. 

It will also significantly improve traffic flow and safety on the existing road network by reducing heavy vehicles on Albany Highway, South Coast Highway and Chester Pass Road.

There are currently hundreds of trucks moving to and from the port each day, which increases significantly during harvest. The new ring road is expected to remove these trucks from the local road network. 

Upon opening, the completed ring road will be known as Menang Drive, in recognition of the Menang Noongar people, the area’s Traditional Owners.

In addition to the project, significant improvements to the local cycling network have been made, including a new shared path on the Frenchman Bay Road bridge which will link the Torndirrup Peninsula with the existing network north of the freight rail line.

The project has invested approximately $54 million in Great Southern businesses, supporting local jobs and contracting opportunities.

$6.4 million has been spent on Aboriginal businesses and suppliers, while 10.5 per cent of the construction workforce hours have been completed by local First Nations people.

Other additional works to be carried out over the winter months include the installation of artworks on the abutments of each of the three bridges. The artworks have been developed by local artists and their concepts take inspiration from the spectacular local landscapes.

Meanwhile, the State Government has committed to a new flyover at the intersection of Menang Drive and Chester Pass Road.

The new flyover will maximise the efficiency of the Albany Ring Road route by providing free-flowing access from Chester Pass Road all the way to the port.

The $225 million project is jointly funded by the State and Federal Governments, with the Federal Government contributing $173 million, including an additional $33 million funded in the 2024-25 Federal Budget.

Federal Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government, Catherine King, 

“It is wonderful to see the Albany Ring Road, a critical project for Western Australia’s Great Southern region, become fully operational,” Ms King said. 

“This project is safeguarding the long-term viability and efficiency of the Port of Albany by providing free flowing road access.

“This will ultimately improve competitiveness of exports from the region.”

Western Australian Minister for Transport, Rita Saffioti, said that the Albany Ring Road is a once-in-a-generation project for the Great Southern region, providing a free-flowing freight connection around the city and taking heavy vehicles off existing routes.

“The issue of heavy vehicles having to use local roads to access the port has long been a concern, which is why the government made this commitment to the people of Albany and the Great Southern,” Ms Saffioti said. 

“Removing heavy vehicles from the existing local network will improve safety on Chester Pass Road, Albany Highway and South Coast Highway and enhance amenity for local residents and visitors alike.

“The new ring road will support the future economic growth of Albany and the Great Southern region by making truck movements to and from the Port of Albany as efficient as possible.”

Image: Remus747/shutterstock.com

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