The condition of the South Coast Highway and the money being spent to improve it was raised in State Parliament last week. On Tuesday’s first parliamentary sitting day of the year, Opposition Leader Shane Love asked Transport Minister Rita Saffioti to outline upgrade works scheduled for the highway. Ms Saffioti told Parliament the State Government had invested $54 million on upgrades to the highway since 2017. She said it included the road widening projects and the construction of three passing lanes in the Mead Road, Kalgan River and Kojaneerup sections between Albany and Jerramungup. She also referred to rehabilitating pavement and widening between Munglinup and Esperance, 32km of widening between Ravensthorpe and Munglinup and further pavement rehabilitation and seal widening near Thomas Road west of Ravensthorpe. “Project development work is underway for further upgrades of South Coast Highway,” she said. Mr Love raised the questions in Parliament while referring to the fact South Coast Highway was listed as the fifth-riskiest road in regional WA in last year’s RAC Risky Roads survey. He told the Advertiser the Government “needs to shift their focus away from vanity projects like elevated railway lines in suburbs that don’t want them and invest into critical transport routes such as the South Coast Highway.” Roe MLA Peter Rundle said the highway was one of the “most crucial stretches of infrastructure in the state.” He said the fact it was also considered one of the riskiest in regional WA was a huge concern and that “it needs to be prioritised accordingly by the transport minister”. “The reality is that what has been done is not good enough and quick-fix solutions to damaged roads only last so long,” he said. “We are not talking about a minor back road, South Coast Highway is a major freight route and it is also a major route for tourists visiting Esperance and surrounds. “For too long locals have been calling for more overtaking lanes, for work to make the road edges less treacherous and for the severely pitted and ridges section of the road to be repaired with longer term solutions.” Earlier this year, Freight Lines Group director Michael Harding labelled many of the roads his drivers travelled in the Great Southern as dangerous and an “unsafe workplace”.