Great Southern's lethal trifecta

KEIR TUNBRIDGEAlbany Advertiser

The top three most dangerous stretches of road in WA are in the Great Southern region, according to regional crash statistics.

Main Roads WA analysed the number of serious single vehicle crashes for every 10km stretch of the 18,000km WA road network.

The analysis identified the top-six riskiest stretches of road, all of which have five times the average crash risk.

Those risky top three were Alb8any Highway from Williams to Mt Barker, particularly near Kojonup, the Northam-Cranbrook Road, particularly near Narrogin, Wagin and Katanning, and South Coast Highway west of Albany.

The WA Road Safety Council last week recommended the sites as priority areas for immediate attention.

Council chairman D’Arcy Holman said it was important the sites quickly received roadside safety treatments, including audible edge lines, roadside protective barriers, shoulder-sealing and enhanced markings.

Professor Holman said improving those and other priority WA roads would cost about $160 million and, if the council’s recommendations were adopted by the State Government, the work would be completed in the next three years.

Professor Holman said he welcomed the Government’s recent announcement of an extra $20 million in funds to improve regional roads, and said he expected that amount to triple in three years.

“With around 900 serious injuries a year, including 100 deaths, and a death rate four times that of metro Perth, road trauma in regional WA is the council’s most pressing priority,” he said.

Albany MP Peter Watson said road safety in the Great Southern was a huge issue.

Mr Watson called for a dual carriageway to be constructed between Kojonup and Mt Barker as a matter of priority.

Transport Minister Troy Buswell said regional road upgrades were a priority for the Government and projects for road safety funding were being finalised.

Acting officer-in-charge of Albany police Sergeant Peter May said any improvements to Great Southern roads would be welcome, but changing road user behaviour was just as important.

Professor Holman said the council had recommended road improvements be paired with funding for education campaigns about the dangers of fatigue, distracted drivers, five-star vehicle ratings, speeding, drink-driving enforcement and seat-belt use.

The other three roads in the top six were Brand Highway near Jurien Bay turnoff, South Western Highway, from Pinjarra to Bunbury and Balingup to Manjimup, and Broome Highway near Broome.

Get the latest news from in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails