Work on the final six-kilometre section of the Albany Ring Road project, between South Coast Highway and Princess Royal Drive, is officially underway.
The Australian Government has committed $140 million toward the $175 million Albany Ring Road upgrade, with the Western Australian Government providing $35 million.
When complete, the project will establish an 11-kilometre, free-flowing connection between Albany Highway and Princess Royal Drive, improving freight efficiency and reducing congestion on existing routes.
Heavy vehicles, according to the planning, will be taken away from the town centre.
Vehicles heading north from the Menang Drive intersection will cross over the new bridge and utilise a new loop ramp to access Albany Highway.
Since 2013 the Australian Government has provided funds for more than $17.7 billion for transport infrastructure across Western Australia.
This also includes delivery a new heavy vehicle bay at the rest stop on the Albany Highway near Cranbrook.
In that instance the Federal Government contributed $242,500 under the Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Program.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Barnaby Joyce said the Australian Government is delivering the infrastructure Western Australians need and deserve.
“We are focused on getting the job done for Western Australians through our record $110 billion infrastructure investment plan,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.
“The Albany Ring Road will improve connections between major freight infrastructure, including airports and commercial and industrial areas, which will help industries grow and support more jobs,” he said.
“This will drive new and expanded economic opportunities in the local area and beyond.”
Western Australian Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said this was the biggest infrastructure project ever undertaken in the Great Southern region.
“It will provide certainty for Albany Port users and open up new economic opportunities to the north and west of the city, while also taking heavy vehicles out of residential areas and away from the centre of town,” she said.
“We anticipate the first stage of the project will be open in April.”
Federal Member for O’Connor Rick Wilson said the project complements other commitments being delivered in the local region.
“The Australian Government will continue to invest in and deliver the infrastructure projects that matter to locals, tourists and businesses across regional Western Australia.”
State Member for Albany Rebecca Stephens said it was fantastic to see so much construction underway.
“Every time I drive past the site, it is a hive of activity,” she said.
“I am so pleased we are close to the opening of Phase 1, and that Phase 2 of the project is now getting off the ground, generating new jobs and contracting opportunities for local businesses.”
Over the past month, pre-construction activity has taken place to prepare the site for the upcoming earthworks and bridge works.
Activity has included installation of new fencing, seed collection, topsoil removal, utilities relocations and services protection works.
A temporary closure of Link Road between Lancaster Road and South Coast Highway was implemented in late February, to allow the new access ramps associated with the Albany Ring Road and South Coast Highway interchange to be constructed safely and efficiently.
The final section of the Ring Road was subject to significant design changes last year, to improve local connectivity and reduce the overall footprint, with the overall vegetation clearing requirement lowered by almost 50 per cent.
Construction of the first grade-separated interchange in the Great Southern Region – at Menang Drive and Albany Highway – is making good progress, with the bridge and road ramps anticipated to open in April.