Bunbury Outer Ring Road
The proposed Bunbury Outer Ring Road (BORR) is in three sections - northern, central and southern, as follows:
- The northern section is between Forrest Highway and the Boyanup Picton Road.
- The 4 km central section was completed in May 2013, and connects Boyanup Picton Road and South Western Highway south of Bunbury (near Bunbury Airport). A 3 km extension of the Bunbury Port Access Road (Willinge Drive) was built at the same time.
- The southern section is between South Western Highway and Bussell Highway.
Constructing the northern and southern sections of the BORR will further improve access to Bunbury Port. Travel times, freight efficiency and road safety will be enhanced, with regional traffic better separated from local movements. Access to existing and proposed industrial areas east of Bunbury will also be improved.
The Commonwealth and State Governments announced a $2.3 billion infrastructure package for Western Australia in 2017. This included a $12.5 million allocation to complete the planning and project development of the unbuilt sections (northern and southern).
A funding application for construction was recently provided to Infrastructure Australia. The working estimated cost of the project is being finalised, however, $560 million of Federal funding is now secured.
Northern section corridor update
We have undertaken further planning and development within the northern section corridor and as a result have identified a blue preferred alignment. Detailed investigations and environmental site surveys of this alignment will be carried out.
Significant work is required to progress this alignment and to determine its location. These additional works, including meetings with landowners and other stakeholders, is underway.
Southern section investigation of alternative corridor
The existing corridor for the Southern Section of Bunbury Outer Ring Road has been reserved within the Greater Bunbury Region Scheme for many years. However, when referring the project for environmental approval it is necessary to demonstrate that there are not feasible alternatives with lesser environmental impact.
The Southern Section road reserve through Gelorup includes Federally listed habitat for the Western Ringtail Possum, Black Cockatoo and Banksia Woodland Threatened Ecological Community. In early May 2018, The Commonwealth Minister for the Environment and Energy changed the status of the Western Ringtail Possum under the Commonwealth Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act from Vulnerable to Critically Endangered. This is the highest classification level possible before a species is declared extinct. As a result of this reclassification and the other Matters of National Environmental Significance , we will undertake additional investigations to support the environmental referral process. An alternative corridor has been identified for investigation, within which environmental surveys will be undertaken.
We are consulting with the landowners potentially affected by this alternative corridor as a matter of priority.
Planning study confirms northern section preferred corridor
Since early 2017, we have been undertaking an alignment selection planning study for the northern section of BORR, between Forrest Highway and Boyanup - Picton Road, to identify an integrated planning solution that is aligned with the future development of Greater Bunbury. This involved the investigation of two possible alignments.
The alignment selection planning study has now been completed and a preferred corridor has been selected with the decision supported by the Western Australian Planning Commission on 31 May 2018. This corridor which is further east of the previous route will now be the subject of further detailed planning and project development.
The eastern corridor has been selected for various reasons, including:
- It provides an integrated planning solution and defines an outer perimeter for development rather than dividing the Greater Bunbury footprint.
- It more effectively separates high speed regional and freight traffic from local Bunbury traffic improving safety, efficiency and improved port access.
- It starts further north and in doing so will improve safety for a number of intersections along the existing Forrest Highway (including Raymond Road, Grand Entrance, and Hynes Road).
- It is capable of catering for a future population in excess of 200,000 people with 4 traffic lanes whereas the previous corridor would require a wider footprint with more lanes and larger interchanges.
Community Reference Groups
Community Reference Groups (CRG’s) for the Northern and Central, and the Southern sections have been formed and met for the first time on 9 and 10 July respectively.
The sessions were well attended with community representatives, local residents, the business community and key environmental stakeholders including the South West Environment Centre, Capel Land Conservation District Committee and South West Native Orchid Propagation and Restoration.
Many informed questions and comments were recorded during the CRG sessions and we are reviewing these to prepare technical information for discussion at future meetings.
Meetings have been scheduled for September and December 2018 with three further meetings anticipated in March, May and August 2019.
Additional Working Group - Meadow Landing
In response to the feedback from Northern and Central CRG members, a Meadow Landing Working Group has been formed to discuss issues specific to this community in more detail. Concerns raised include planning and environmental issues, including noise and visual amenity. Key outcomes and actions from the Working Group will then be reported at the Northern and Central CRG.
Community and stakeholder engagement
Stakeholder and community engagement is continuing, with landowners, communities of interest, local government authorities and State Government agencies. During 2018 and 2019 we will work with all key stakeholders to discuss project issues and seek to minimise potential impacts, including environmental, heritage (Indigenous and European), social and economic impacts.