Coalfields Highway

 

Current Status: Remaining Works

The remaining works from west of Wellington Dam Road to the newly completed Hamilton River section will commence later in 2015 with the aim of opening these sections to traffic by mid-2016.

Work includes:

  • Reconstruction and realignment of approximately 7.7km of road from just west of Wellington Dam Road to the start of recently completed works.
  • Reinstatement of the existing eastbound and westbound passing lanes.
  • Upgrade of the Gastaldo Road intersection to include a right turn acceleration lane for vehicles turning right onto the Coalfields Highway.
  • Upgrading the Wellington Dam Road intersection to provide a separate lane for right turn movements from Coalfields Highway.
  • Reinstatement of Department of Parks and Wildlife (DPaW) infrastructure (parking bay entrance, Munda Biddi Trail crossing).
  • Rationalisation of DPaW management tracks.

In addition to road upgrades, Minister for Transport Dean Nalder recently announced that during June 2015, a trial will be conducted to assess whether longer road trains should be allowed to travel down Roelands Hill on the Coalfields Highway. The trial will determine if road trains measuring 36.5 metres can safely use the highway. Currently, road trains measuring 27.5 metres can descend Roelands Hill, but longer vehicles have to stop and break down to single trailers, adding extra time to their trip.

 

Completed Works

The 2.6 kilometre Hamilton River section between the water pipeline and the previously completed Shine's section was sealed and opened to traffic in May 2015 – one year earlier than previously programmed.
The project included realignment of the Hamilton River causeway, reinstatement of the passing lanes, improved drainage, widened road shoulders and safety barriers.

Benefits of the roadworks include;

  •  improved road alignment with safer passing opportunities;
  •  increased road width including the introduction of a one metre painted central median;
  •  more forgiving roadside verges;
  •  safer driveway accesses;
  •  improvements to road drainage to help manage road runoff entering the Hamilton River catchment;
  •  construction of an improved access from the highway for the Department of Parks and Wildlife (DPaW) campsite just east of the Hamilton River crossing;
  • rehabilitation and revegetation of roadside verges; and
  • rationalisation and maintenance of DPaW management tracks.

Sincere thanks to all road users, residents, businesses and campsite patrons for your patience during the works.

Previously completed works include:

  • A 4 kilometre extension of the existing climbing lane on Roelands Hill - opened to traffic in May 2014.
  • Improvements to the section just west of Allanson to Collie - completed in 2012.

 

Project Background

The Coalfields Highway Upgrade is a $53 million project that is expected to increase safety, increased overtaking opportunities and ultimately reduce the number and severity of crashes. 

For further information regarding the history of this project please see our previous updates, theApril 2014 newsletter and the August 2013 newsletter

 

Project Need and Community Benefits

The upgrade of the Coalfields Highway has been ongoing over the last 30 years. Further improvements are required for several reasons:

  • There are sections of narrow sealed width, unsealed shoulders and poor geometry (winding, tight curves and crests).
  • To provide safer opportunities for road users to easily overtake slow vehicles.
  • Increasing volumes of traffic are using the route, including more heavy vehicles and oversized loads servicing the mining, industrial and agricultural sectors.
  • There is adjacent vegetation close to the edge of the road, including large trees that pose a traffic hazard to the road user.

 

The project will:

  • Increase road user safety and reduce the number and severity of crashes.
  • Cater for increasing traffic volumes.
  • Meet changing transport needs, including reducing freight costs.

Top

Budget and Timing

Further to the $25 million allocation initially announced, the 2013/14 State Budget confirmed that an additional $28 million would be provided to continue upgrading works on the Highway with the following delivery timeframe:

  • 2013-14 – Roelands Hill (complete)
  • 2014-15 – Wellington and Hamilton Sections
  • 2015-16 – Gastaldo Sections

While the Wellington Section has been delayed by the National Park excision process the project is still on track to be completed by late 2016. The project is still on track to be completed by late 2016.

Top

Managing the Environment and Sustainability

We have been working closely with local Department of Parks and Wildlife (DPaW) staff throughout this project in an effort to minimise the impacts of the project on the environment, particularly where the new road interfaces with Welllington National Park. We have committed to the following measures to reduce impacts both before and after construction:

  • Ensuring minimal impact on potential black cockatoo habitat
  • Optimise the road footprint by steepening batters and introducing new sections of safety barrier.
  • Walking the entire length of the alignment on both sides to identify ways to save significant vegetation on the edges of the road.
  • Work with a fauna spotter during all clearing to manage fauna.
  • Once completed, use native species common to the area to rehabilitate road batters, surplus land (including the existing road), various tracks, and several existing materials pits within the National Park.
  • Use kerbing, pipe drainage and basins at strategic locations to manage runoff into water courses.
  • Use area specific topsoil management and hygiene plans to minimise the spread of weeds and dieback. 
  • Undertake Acid Sulphate Soils investigations and monitoring in high risk areas around water courses.
  • Ongoing consultation with affected landowners and Aboriginal representatives.

 

Sustainable outcomes have been a priority with the following initiatives already implemented:

  • Engaging with DPaW and Forest Products Commission (FPC) to identify mill quality timber that could be harvested and used in the National Park, or for craft wood purposes. A number of logs have been made available to the open market via public tender.
  • Re-using any remaining timber and vegetation by mulching it for rehabilitation.
  • Making best use of the naturally occurring road building materials available on site by balancing earthworks, and processing the gravel resource available from the Wellington Dam Section.

Environmental Consultation and Documentation

Working with the local offices of the Department of Parks and Wildlife, we have undertaken a number of environmental surveys and heritage consultations to determine impacts and how they can be managed throughout the project.  This information was used to prepare an Environmental Impact Assessment and subsequently, the project was referred to both the Environmental Protection Authority (State Government) and the Commonwealth Department of the Environment (formally Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities) 

 

Community Information

Roadworks information will be provided to the community on a regular basis via Variable Message Signs on site, advertising in the local media and on the South West Roadworks and Road Conditions page.

We welcome queries or feedback from the community.  Please contact Carolyn Walker on:

Phone: (08) 9450 1445 (8.00 am - 6.00 pm)
Fax: (08) 9450 1261
Email: carolyn.walker@mainroads.wa.gov.au

 

Top

Modified: 17 Jun 2015