The Bunbury Outer Ring Road will ease congestion, make roads safer and strengthen the economy, according to several local leaders.
While communities across the region continue to work with Main Roads on alignments for the proposed road, leaders believe the project will bring many benefits to the area.
Bunbury Georgraphe Chamber of Commerce and Industry president David Kerr said evidence from studies on the impact of ring roads suggested a wide range of potential impacts.
“In our case the Bunbury Outer Ring Road will have a very positive overall economic impact from a port access perspective that will deliver a dividend well in to the future as outlined in the Roads to Export program,” he said.
“It will be the trigger for a range of downstream port related smart manufacturing opportunities, creating new jobs and income to the region.
“From a community safety perspective it will help with separation between local road traffic and heavy vehicles.”
Mr Kerr admitted parts of the community would be negatively impacted through noise, land valuation changes and impacts, which needed to be managed as effectively as possible.
“Individual businesses may be impacted depending on their reliance on existing passing traffic and this will vary across the region, so good business and strategic planning needs to be undertaken to identify and adjust to the forecast changed traffic situation,” he said.
“The studies suggest that if communities prepare effectively, ring roads can in fact have a positive impact through traffic separation and improved local amenity.
Resident Brian Rettinger said a specific social and economic impact study was needed to fully understand what the outer ring road would do to the Greater Bunbury community.
He said the project was driven by politics and the only reason it was happening now, was because the money had become available.
“We need to challenge what the near to medium term impact will be,” he said.
Southern Ports general manager Darren Lambourn said the road would result in a fit-for-purpose heavy vehicles route to the port, meaning lower risk of trucks travelling near homes and businesses.
“This improves both the amenity of Bunbury and protects the supply chain corridors to ensure the Port continues to contribute to the local economy into the future,” he said.
City of Bunbury Mayor Gary Brennan said moving trucks away from urban areas had been a priority for many years and people intending to visit Bunbury would do so ‘irrespective of the bypass’.