Progress on Wheatbelt freight roads

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Cally DupeCountryman
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A good Wheatbelt road.
Camera IconA good Wheatbelt road. Credit: Stephen Scourfield

The first 500km of an ambitious plan to fix 4400km of the Wheatbelt’s most important agricultural roads could be mid-way through upgrades by the end of the year.

Wheatbelt Secondary Freight Network chairman Ricky Storer said a recent $70 million Federal grant meant the group had enough cash to start the first 350-500km this year.

It still needs to raise $430 million for the remainder of the project, which will eventually cherry-pick 4400km of freight routes throughout the Wheatbelt for upgrades.

Mr Storer said which roads to upgrade first through the $500 million project would be identified as works progressed.

“That $70 million means we can now start doing some on-ground work,” he said.

“Until now it has been consultation, engaging consultants and industry to come up with the best possible routes.

“Now we have some money and we can start rolling these upgrades out.

“We would really like to see the first road done later this year.”

The State Government recently awarded $100,000 to the Shire of Koorda on behalf of WSFN, for project management including design and engineering works.

Mr Storer, who is president of the Shire of Koorda and a local farmer, said the group would not start work until after the Federal election.

He said the WSFN identified some $500 million of staged capital works was needed across the 4400km network over the next 15 years, but the $70 million would go a long way towards facilitating that goal — allowing for 300km to 500km of reconstruction according to location.

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