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Highway safety fears

SLOW PROGRESS: A section of the Murchison Highway described as ‘‘very sludgy’’ by Facebook user Louise Mackree, of Strahan. SLOW PROGRESS: A section of the Murchison Highway described as “very sludgy” by Facebook user Louise Mackree, of Strahan.
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THERE are increasing concerns around the “extremely dangerous” road conditions on the Murchison Highway, with reports that the “undriveable” conditions are a risk to West Coast tourism.

“It’s an accident waiting to happen,” Zeehan resident Maree Coulson said.

Works to upgrade the highway have been under way since 2012, but road users and the West Coast Council are unhappy with the lack of progress that has been made.

“We have had discussions with the Minister for Transport, who was here the week before last, and we specifically raised that [Murchison Highway roadworks] with the minister,” West Coast Council interim general manager Greg Winton said.

“Like everybody else, we’d like to see it complete, but we acknowledge the weather conditions associated with it.” Mr Winton said after driving down the highway last week that it was “the worst” roadworks he had seen in 10 years.

“There’s that frustration that can we get on and get finished – we can’t put up with it for too much longer,” he said.

“There’s been a lot of sections that have been unsealed for a long period of time.

“They could have maybe thought of timing it a bit better … they knew that the weather was coming. That’s not an issue for the contractors, that’s the department.”

The West Coast Road Conditions Facebook page, with more than 1000 members, highlighted the extent of the problem for miners, tourists and locals, Mrs Coulson said.

She regularly drives along the Murchison Highway and said the current conditions, particularly between Tullah and Cradle Mountain, were a risk to driver safety.

“I don’t get it. I would not build a West Coast road at this time of year. It’s pure slush – cars are spinning, trying to get up the hill,” Mrs Coulson said.

“We’d be better off with potholes than that stuff. It’s bordering on extremely dangerous.

“Tourists won’t want to come down here if they have to drive through that.”

A Department of State Growth spokesperson blamed bad weather conditions to the slow progress of the road’s development. “It’s not always possible to accurately forecast these changes so that the roadworks can be left in a satisfactory condition for road users,” the spokesperson said.

Undertaking work during inclement weather could make the road conditions worse, the spokesperson said.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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