Following the latest round of community reference group meetings to discuss alignments and impacts for the Bunbury Outer Ring Road, a concerned community member has raised further issues surrounding the project.
According to Main Roads, the Bunbury Outer Ring Road consists of three sections – the northern section between Forrest Highway and Boyanup Picton Road, the central section, completed in May 2013 connecting Boyanup Picton Road and South Western Highway, and the southern section between South Western Highway and Bussell Highway.
South Bunbury resident and Ferguson Valley Marketing deputy chair Brian Rettinger is part of the central and northern community reference group and after three meetings said he questioned the consultation process.
Mr Rettinger described it as a divide and conquer strategy in the way stakeholder groups were being separated.
“The community is getting frustrated because this has become a tick and flick process,” he said.
“We’re not being listened to by the Bunbury Outer Ring Road team.
“When the freeway goes in with no exits to Bunbury it’s going to extremely and negatively impact Bunbury’s businesses, its residents and take potential visitors away.””
Mr Rettinger said he believed when the outer ring road was built it would be possible to bypass Bunbury within 13 minutes with a lack of exits into Bunbury and the Ferguson Valley, with travellers forced to use windy long back roads as alternatives and no interchange at South Western Highway.
“The Bunbury Outer Ring Road project is an express freeway that is designed to bypass Bunbury,” he said.
“It’s time for the community to start seriously questioning this project.”
Main Roads spokesperson Dean Roberts said the road wouldn’t remove access to Bunbury or the Ferguson Valley.
“Travellers will still be able to access these important tourist destinations,” he said.
“Interchanges are proposed on Forrest Highway and Bussell Highway at either end of the project
“Access via the existing road network will be maintained, providing visitors with more route choices than exist at present,” he said.
Mr Roberts said it was important to recognise that the road was one of the largest infrastructure projects in WA and the number of stakeholders impacted was extensive.
Drop-in information sessions will be held in Bunbury, Eaton, Australind and Gelorup later this month where community members will be able to meet the team, view project information and ask questions.
For more information visit project.mainroads.wa.gov.au.