Part of a project to reduce traffic congestion and make roads safer for drivers in and around Bunbury is on track to be completed in the first half of next year.
The funded parts of the Bunbury Port Access Project — the construction of the Bunbury Port access road and part of the Bunbury outer ring road — are expected to be open to the public by May next year.
Main Roads director of South West operations Brett Belstead said the earthworks for the project were largely complete.
“The pavement is in progress right across the project and the next step is to finish that and start doing some sealing,” he said.
When complete, Stage 1 of the outer ring road will connect South Western Highway to Boyanup-Picton Road and Stage 2 of the port access road will connect the ring road to Willinge Drive.
Stage 1 of the outer ring road consists of 4km of road — including 3km of four-lane dual carriageway — and new intersections at the junctions with South Western Highway, Boyanup-Picton Road, Moore Road and the port access road.
It also includes bridges being built over the Preston River and Ferguson River.
Mr Belstead said the substructures for the bridges were in place and concrete would soon be poured.
He said commuters could expect slow traffic conditions to continue near the roadworks, especially as roundabouts were constructed on Picton Road and South Western Highway.
It is expected the new roads will take some trucks off Australind Bypass and Robertson Drive by providing a better route into the port.
Ultimately, the outer ring road will connect Forrest Highway to Bussell Highway north of Capel Golf Club.
“The greater outer ring road is needed to cater for increased traffic coming into Bunbury and will leave the existing road network for the locals,” he said.
The rest of the long-awaited project is subject to funding from the Federal Nation Building Program.
“It will take all the port-bound trucks coming from Bussell Highway with mineral sands and logs and will put them on the port access road instead,” Mr Belstead said.