Bussell Highway Duplication - Capel to Sabina
Bussell Highway is the main link between Perth, Bunbury and Busselton-Margaret River area, supporting the tourism, forestry and agricultural industries in the region. It is also an important commuter link for many residents who live in the Busselton / Margaret River area and work in Bunbury or the Perth metropolitan area.
The 46 km section of Bussell Highway between Bunbury and Busselton is a four lane dual carriageway, aside from a 17 km section between Capel and north of Busselton, which is a two lane single carriageway with passing lanes at approximately 5 km intervals in each direction.
Traffic flowing regularly exceeds the capacity of the single carriageway section resulting in congestion and delays.
The average annual daily traffic on the single carriageway section varies from approximately 14,000 vehicles per day (vpd) at the northern end to approximately 13,000 vpd at the southern end. Traffic volumes fluctuate significantly, with Friday traffic typically around 16,000 vpd or greater. Extreme peaks are experienced on most holiday long weekends when traffic flows can be in the order of 13,000 vpd in one direction alone.
On Friday afternoons, with large traffic volumes attempting to merge it, it is common for a queue of traffic to form on the southbound carriageway where the dual carriageway ends just south of Capel. The queue often extends through intersections that provide access into the Capel townsite, causing inconvenience and safety concerns for traffic accessing the townsite.
Similarly, high traffic volumes heading north towards Perth after a long weekend are experienced. As traffic growth continues, periods of congestion on this major rural highway will become more frequent and longer in duration.
We are continuing to seek funding for the project from the State and Federal Governments.
In early August, we commenced pre-construction works on the Capel to Hutton Road section. Although construction of the project is currently unfunded, it requires significant and lengthy pre-construction works including clearing and preloading to consolidate weak sub soil conditions. These current works to clear vegetation is complete. Under the terms of environmental approvals received, we carefully managed impacts on habitats of the western ringtail possum and black cockatoo species – including reducing the speed limit.
Cleared vegetation is being mulched and stock-piled in strategic locations for re-use on the future road as part of the rehabilitation works.
The benefits of completing these works include:
- There is less impact on traffic at this time of year.
- With these works complete in advance, road construction time will be reduced, once funding is announced.
- The project is being planned to minimize truck movements, to minimize impact on highway traffic.
Scope of works
- Geotechnical investigations
- Road and bridge designs
- Service and utility impacts investigations and relocations
- Land acquisition
- Environmental and heritage impacts investigations and approvals
- Working with the Shire of Capel and City of Busselton to finalise planning
We have both State Clearing Permit and Commonwealth environmental approval for the 5.8 km Cap to Hutton section. State clearing permit conditions were cleared on 22 November 2016 for the clearing of the 5.5 ha of native vegetation. Commonwealth approval was issued on 5 January 2017 for the clearing of 6.59 ha of Western Ringtail Possum habitat.
Environmental approval for the remaining 12.5 km section (Hutton to Sabina) is in progress, with the environmental impact assessment being prepared. We expect to submit environmental approval documents to the regulators within the next 2-3 months.