Ring Road funding a “game changer”

Staff reporterAlbany Advertiser

Albany Mayor Dennis Wellington has labelled the $140m Federal budget commitment to complete the Albany Ring Road as a “game changer” for the port city.

The funding was revealed today in The West Australian as part of a $1.6m WA infrastructure package to be included in next week’s 2019-20 Federal budget.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s $140m commitment, combined with a $35 million State pledge in 2017, will fund the final two stages of the ring road.

The first stage was completed in 2007.

"This is a major win for Albany," Mayor Wellington said.

"We’ve been lobbying for this project for a long time as it will transform the transport link through Albany, making our roads safer as well as improving efficiency of delivery to the port.

“Menang Drive was the first stage of the project and that was finished in 12 years ago, so we’ve been lobbying hard to get support to finish the ring road all the way to the port and we’re really pleased that can now happen.

"It will just be a great exercise for the region, taking trucks away from our suburban areas, especially the big roundabout, and provide unimpeded access to the port which is a major economic driver for our region."

The final two stages of the project would see Albany Highway linked to Princess Royal Drive via upgrades at Link Road, George Street and Lower Denmark Road.

Those upgrades were intended to reduce heavy traffic through town and divert trucks away from the notorious Chester Pass Road roundabout.

Tensions between the State and Federal Governments rose in recent months over the project, with each accusing the other of passing the buck on responsibility for funding.

This month it culminated in the Transport Minister Rita Saffioti accusing Mr Wilson of not pulling his weight in Canberra, while Mr Wilson questioned the State’s commitment to the project.

Mr Wellington said he was grateful to Mr Wilson for his advocacy in Canberra.

"Mr Wilson has been very supportive of this project and we appreciate his efforts to get his government’s commitment to progress the ring road," he said.

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