Wheatbelt Highway Review

The Roads

This safety review will focus on three routes within the Wheatbelt, the Great Eastern Highway, the Great Southern Highway and Toodyay Road each with high crash densities but with differing traffic volumes and road conditions.

The Great Eastern Highway – more than 370kms from the boundary with the metropolitan area at The Lakes through to just past Yellowdine. In the five years to 2013, there were 101 serious road crashes along this route, in which 18 people were killed and 137 seriously injured.

The Great Southern Highway – a 44km stretch between Chidlow and York. Over the five years to 2013, there were 13 serious road crashes along this route, in which 5 people were killed and 12 people seriously injured.

Toodyay Road – a 28km section from the Mayo Road intersection to Toodyay. Over the five years to 2013, there were 20 serious road crashes on Toodyay Road, in which five people were killed and 19 people seriously injured.

Background

On Friday 12 June 2015, the Wheatbelt Highway Safety Review was announced. 

The Wheatbelt region continues to experience very high rates of fatal and serious crashes relative to other regions of the state.  Previously high risk road segments along routes in the Wheatbelt region have been identified for attention, although a more strategic approach to funding these is now required.

The Road Safety Commission has crash maps for 2009-2013 available for the Wheatbelt North and Wheatbelt South regions.

 In 2014, 26 people died in road crashes in the Wheatbelt region compared to 18 people in 2013. Serious injuries also feature heavily in road crashes in the region, with 162 people seriously injured in 2013 and at least 147 people in 2014.

The contributing factors of excessive speed, alcohol and non-use of seatbelts also feature more strongly in Wheatbelt road crashes than other regional areas of WA.

Outcomes

The process of proposing solutions to identified road safety problems is expected to result in improved road trauma outcomes and build greater commitment to implementation of treatments aligned with the safe system approach which underpins Western Australia’s Towards Zero road safety strategy 2008-2020.
 
 The Safe System approach aims to prevent death and serious injury by addressing the fact that that in the event of a crash it is the interaction of three key elements that determine the outcomes:

  • The speed at which the vehicle is travelling at impact.
  • The safety performance of the vehicle.
  • The object that is struck and how forgiving it is.
  • By working together agencies and community members will achieve better road safety outcomes for the Wheatbelt.

To find out more information about the outcomes of the Wheatbelt Highway Safety Review, please read the Summary Report.

 

Community Involvement

Community forums have been held in Merredin and Toodyay. To find out more about what was discussed at each of these forums, please visit the Community Involvement page.

A Highway Safety Review includes extensive in-depth analysis of a travel route’s road crash history, technical consideration and consultation with local stakeholders. It represents a more holistic and collaborative way of road safety agencies working together with the community to improve road safety outcomes in the short to medium term.

A cross-agency working group is leading Western Australia’s inaugural highway safety review, focusing on the Wheatbelt region. The group includes representatives from the Road Safety Commission, Main Roads, WA Police and the WA Local Government Association.

The focus is on identifying and treating travel routes with the greatest number of serious casualties per kilometre rather than attempting to treat every local road. This maximises the potential for saving lives and serious injuries.

Each agency is contributing data and information such as crash histories, existing road conditions and treatments, traffic volumes and enforcement operations.
 
As part of the review, technical experts also participated in a bus trip along the designated routes to observe crash locations and road conditions. This trip will allow various treatment options and responses to be considered and compared.

This review draws on extensive experience from New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland and is trialling the route review process for greater application across the state.

A report describing issues identified along the route, the process undertaken and proposed solutions has been prepared with assistance from all agencies on the working group.