Flood-proof $14.3m ring road opened
There was a hint of the good old days for State Development Minister Bill Marmion as he and Member for Mining and Pastoral Ken Baston flew to Onslow last week to cut the ribbon for the completed $14.3 million floodproof ring road.
The raised road means access from the airport to town will no longer be affected by heavy rain.
The main entrance to town has also been moved. Most drivers entering town will now go via a scenic route past the salt operations, with ocean views instead of driving by the unsightly light industrial area.
Mr Marmion, a former civil engineer, praised the quality of the road during his speech at the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
“Being a former road engineer I must say it has been built to a very high standard. The quality is fantastic,” he said.
“(It is) basically a flood-free road linking the airport, which is important because at least if you have a massive flood or cyclone around here you will be able to land a plane on the airstrip and service the town.
“In the current climate, timing is everything. The project may not have gone ahead if there was a delay in getting approvals from the State Government.”
Transport Minister Dean Nalder said flooding over the old road had hampered emergency services and evacuations in the past.
Shire of Ashburton President Kerry White said the road would improve safety for Onslow.
“It’s a beautiful-looking road and very nice to drive on, so I’m very happy,” she said.
“You could always get through (in floods) but you needed a fourwheel-drive.
“For the future of Onslow, hopefully we can open up some land around it when our new planning strategy comes out.”
Mrs White said the residents should be thanked for putting up with the construction of the road.
Mr Marmion said the works were funded by the Chevron-operation Wheatstone project.