Res­i­dents an­gry over road­works safety is­sues

Augusta Margaret River Times - - Front Page - War­ren Hately

Fed-up res­i­dents have called time on long­stand­ing road­works on Bus­sell High­way, ar­gu­ing on­go­ing safety is­sues could re­sult in some­one get­ting killed if ur­gent ac­tion isn’t taken.

But the de­vel­op­ers of the Mar­garet River Lifestyle Vil­lage say they are un­fairly cop­ping flak for on­go­ing prob­lems caused by a sec­ond job out­side Rapids Land­ing over­seen by Main Roads WA.

Vil­lage devel­oper Bradley Moore said work­ing with Main Roads and the Shire of Au­gusta-Mar­garet River had been “dif­fi­cult” in a cli­mate in which Bus­sell High­way would soon be­come a Shire road — af­ter the perime­ter road and John Archibald Drive open — and the author­i­ties were hand­balling costs to de­vel­op­ers. “It’s a Main Roads road,” he said. “Main Roads isn’t go­ing to pay for it. The Shire’s not go­ing to pay for it.

“Process is al­ways more im­por­tant (to the Shire) than out­comes.”

Pot­holes were a prob­lem, made more dif­fi­cult by stan­dards forced on de­vel­op­ers by MRWA but some of those stan­dards didn’t suit lo­cal road and weather con­di­tions, Mr Moore said.

The ad­ja­cent Rapids Land­ing road­works cater­ing to the new pri­mary school should have been car-

ried out “five years ago” and were an un­re­lated project, he said.

Nu­mer­ous res­i­dents said on­go­ing work, ob­scured white lines, the pres­ence of work crews, chang­ing road mark­ers, pot­holes, win­try weather and the 80km/h speed limit were a recipe for a fa­tal ac­ci­dent.

Some res­i­dents alerted Worksafe to the is­sue, but the agency said it did not in­spect roads, only un­safe work­place prac­tices. Res­i­dents were also an­gered by “hand­balling” of their com­plaints from MRWA.

Brook­field res­i­dent John Law­son said he had had sev­eral close calls on the stretch. “It’s bloody dan­ger­ous,” he said. “We put up with months of traf­fic dis­rup­tion and it was very poorly han­dled.

“The next thing we know they’re tear­ing it up again, and that’s no good ei­ther.” Mr Law­son said when the lifestyle vil­lage opened, the road would have even more traf­fic and he feared a fa­tal ac­ci­dent.

Taz’s Taxis op­er­a­tor Rob Si­mons said the road was “a dis­grace” and also lodged a for­mal com­plaint.

Just be­fore dead­line, MRWA told the Times it was aware of the com­plaints, but “the de­vel­op­ers will be re­spon­si­ble for cor­rect­ing any is­sues iden­ti­fied dur­ing these in­spec­tions”. “Main Roads in­spec- tors have been on site, in both the morn­ing and evening, to re­view the pave­ment and mark­ings,” spokesman Dean Roberts said.

“Main Roads are also work­ing with the de­vel­op­ers of the lifestyle vil­lage and the Rapids Land­ing de­vel­op­ment to re­in­state street light­ing in the area.

“Main­te­nance works will be un­der­taken on this sec­tion of Bus­sell High­way as re­quired. It is an- tic­i­pated that per­ma­nent re­pairs will be com­pleted in the sum­mer of 2018-19.”

De­spite the MRWA re­sponse, Mr Law­son said it “wasn’t good enough”.

“(Main Roads) are in charge of this ma­jor road with all sorts of peo­ple, some go­ing as far as Au­gusta,” he said.

The Shire of Au­gusta-Mar­garet River did not re­spond to inquiries be­fore press dead­line.

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