THE notoriously narrow stretch of the Great Northern Highway on Miling Straight has undergone a safety makeover with new overtaking lanes open and new rest areas nearing completion to reduce travel times and the risk of serious crashes.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Michael McCormack said the upgrade is part of the Australian Government’s longer term vision to improve efficiency and road safety on one of Western Australia’s important freight corridors.

“Around Australia – especially in regional Australia – we are investing to make sure people can get home sooner and safer,” Mr McCormack said.

“In this year’s Budget alone we have committed an additional $3.2 billion to major projects in Western Australia, expected to generate around 20,000 jobs.”

Western Australian Minister for Transport Rita Saffioti said the upgraded 22-kilometre section was now open to traffic between Miling North Road and Gatti Road, with additional roadside stopping places to be completed soon.

“In addition to the extra passing opportunities and rest areas, the Miling North Road was also realigned to provide a staggered T-intersection with the Great Northern Highway in order to make crossing the highway safer,” Ms Saffioti said.

Federal Member for Durack Melissa Price said the new Miling Straight section provided a superior road layout while avoiding areas of environmental significance.

“The Muchea to Wubin upgrade is improving an important link between Perth and the state’s north and it complements the Northlink WA project, which includes a new Road Train Assembly Area being constructed in Muchea,” Ms Price said.

Federal Member for Pearce Christian Porter said upgrades were now underway on 25 kilometres of the highway either side of Miling Straight, including the Miling Bypass and Pithara Section.

“With the recent $220 million federal funding announcement for the Bindoon Bypass section of Great Northern Highway, future movements of the 53.5-metre road trains travelling south to Muchea will be smoother, faster and safer,” Mr Porter said.

State Member for the Agricultural Region Darren West said the bypass was one of a range of road safety and infrastructure improvements underway in the Agricultural Region.

“I was out inspecting the excellent progress on these works with the WA Transport Minister and Main Roads WA in recent weeks and the amount of work underway is substantial. The benefits to locals, the freight industry and visitors will be immense,” Mr West said.

The Australian Government has committed $275.8 million to the Great Northern Highway Muchea to Wubin Upgrade with the Western Australian Government committing $68.95 million.

Finishing works will continue over the coming months to complete side roads, roadside stopping places and landscaping. The entire package of works is expected to support up to 2,000 jobs and is due for overall completion in late 2019.

Shane Manning