Weather News

Bussell Highway blues set to continue as wet weather causes delays to $85m road project

Wednesday August 4, 2021 - 03:06 EST
ABC image
Roadworks will paused on Bussell Highway this Easter - ABC

Main Roads says West Australia's wet winter has delayed more than a dozen road projects including a multi-million dollar upgrade to what's been described as WA "riskiest" country road.

The wet weather looks set to cause months of delay to an $85 million plan to turn a 17-kilometre section of Bussell Highway between Busselton and Capel into a dual carriageway. 

The road is a major route for those travelling from Perth and Bunbury to the holiday hot spots of Margaret River and Busselton.

In 2019 it was described as the "riskiest" road in regional WA by the RAC due to the lack of overtaking opportunities and its narrow lanes.

Bussell Highway blues

Main Roads WA operations director Peter Sewell said work on the first 5km stage of the Bussell Highway project was due to be finished about last month ? and then the rain hit.

"We've lost about 40 working days at present and a lot of that has caused not so much damage, but the base course on the southern carriageway is wet ? very wet ? and we can't actually seal it," he said.

"We're hoping in the next few weeks to have the roadway sealed, but, in saying that, the weather forecast in August and September is not that great either." 

Mr Sewell said he hoped the first stage of the project would be finished in the final quarter of 2020.

Wet weather causes delays across South West

Mr Sewell said Main Roads was facing significant delays across more than a dozen road projects in the southern half of WA because of the unexpectedly high rain levels this winter.

"It's unprecedented for Main Roads," he said.

"We've got 16 projects across Main Roads that have all been delayed ? in the South West it's Bussell Highway stage one and there's a number of shoulder sealing projects in the South West and Great Southern that have been delayed."

Mr Sewell said that roadworks had caused further delays on one of regional WA's busiest roads.

"It has caused some delays especially on weekends," he said.

Locals prepared to be patient 

Residents in the South West have long campaigned to have the Bussell Highway made safer after a spate of fatalities. 

In November, four people were killed in accidents on the road in two double-fatality crashes.

Capel Shire president Kaara Andrew says while the delays are disappointing and roadworks have inconvenienced some residents and travellers, locals are glad action is being taken. 

"There's been quite a few very, very serious accidents on that stretch of road," she said.

"The dual lanes thankfully won't just address the accidents that are occurring but it will greatly improve the traffic flow on long weekends and holiday periods."


© ABC 2021

More breaking news

Sydney Morning Herald
ABC News

Display Your Local Weather

Weather News

More rain for southern WA

15:18 EST

A low pressure system is generating a series of cold fronts that are likely to affect WA later this week.

Spring rains are coming

10:13 EST

The best spring rain in a decade is expected to fall over agricultural districts of New South Wales and Victoria this week.

Get a sneak peak into the new Weatherzone Beta website experience while we continue to build out its full functionality.
Explore new datasets, map layers, 7-day charts, 12-month trends and much more!