$175 million Albany Ring Road unlocks local jobs as construction gets underway

Construction on the $175 million Albany Ring Road project is officially underway, unlocking up to 1,000 local jobs and creating flow-on economic benefits for Western Australia's south-west.

This is the largest road infrastructure project ever to be delivered in the Great Southern Region and construction is being undertaken by Australian contractor Decmil Southern Pty Ltd.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the Australian Government had made it a priority to fast-track regional projects that were ready to start, to get money flowing into jobs and businesses as soon as possible.

"Our focus is getting people back into work quickly, which is why we allocated $1.5 billion across Australia, and $223 million in Western Australia, to prioritise shovel-ready projects and targeted road safety works that can provide a boost to the economy and support jobs immediately," Mr McCormack said. 

"The Australian Government's $100 billion, 10-year infrastructure pipeline will support our economy and create jobs, particularly for those in the construction and manufacturing industries."

Western Australian Premier Mark McGowan said he was pleased to see one of his Government's major regional election commitments getting underway.

"Today's ground breaking marks the formal start of a project that has been 25 years in the making and was one of our key election commitments in the Great Southern region," Mr McGowan said. 

"The project as part of our Building for Tomorrow program, which will create lasting infrastructure for generations to come and will provide a vital economic boost of our Great Southern Region, is creating up to 1,000 jobs, with initiatives to maximise local content incorporated as part of the contract."

Western Australian Minister for Transport and Planning Rita Saffioti said the WA Government had worked hard to fast track this project to get workers on the ground as soon as possible. 

"As part of our COVID recovery plan we worked hard to bring this project forward three months earlier than anticipated," Ms Saffioti said. 

"The Albany Ring Road is a critical piece of infrastructure that will help underpin the economic success of the Great Southern Region for years to come.

"When we first came to government there had been no business case prepared and no funding secured. 

"So we got on with the job of submitting a business case to Infrastructure Australia and securing State and Federal funding to get this important project off the ground."

Federal Member for O'Connor Rick Wilson said the project would improve safety and efficiency. 

"Safe, uninterrupted access to the Port of Albany will provide certainty for current port users and an incentive for future investors," Mr Wilson said. 

"The project will also significantly improve traffic flow on the existing road network by reducing the number of heavy vehicles on Albany Highway, South Coast Highway and Chester Pass Road. This will in turn relieve congestion for the freight industry and enhance safety outcomes for local and tourist traffic."

State Member for Albany Peter Watson said when the project is complete in 2023 the Albany Ring Road would link existing major roads and highways radiating from Albany, bypassing urban areas and providing unimpeded road access to the Port of Albany. 

"The Ring Road will take heavy vehicles out of residential areas and away from the centre of town, improving safety and amenity for residents and visitors to the area," Mr Watson said. 

"The project will also unlock new economic opportunities to the north and west of the city, by opening up the area through a high-quality road connection."

The first phase of the connection comprises a new interchange at Albany Highway and Menang Drive, and construction of the section of the Ring Road south to Lancaster Road. 

Designs for the second phase of the project, from Lancaster Road to Princess Royal Drive are underway and will continue over the next 12 months, to enable construction to begin once environmental approvals are received.

The $175 million project is jointly funded with the Australian Government providing $140 million and the Western Australian Government contributing $35 million