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Arteries of life: The complete process for building and upgrading roads in Western Australia and; Roads in the Southern River electorate

Payne, Gary (2012) Arteries of life: The complete process for building and upgrading roads in Western Australia and; Roads in the Southern River electorate. Internship Report, Murdoch University.



The purpose of this report was to examine the process for building and upgrading roads in Metropolitan Western Australia, and to review previous road projects in the Southern River Electorate on certain roads. Research for this report included a review of current literature from a number of sources, as well as two interviews of key persons in the road building industry and a number of email inquiries to road building authorities.

In Part A, all of these findings have been organised into a road building process. The initial idea for a road project can come from a great many sources, but these are often confined to government and intergovernmental bodies. A road is legally planned by an amendment of the Metropolitan Regional Planning scheme, and Local Planning Schemes. The process for amending the schemes differ with the size of a road project. But a project needs to be funded if it is to become reality. There are processes in place to ensure that money is redistributed from those people who use the system, to those that maintain it. There are a number of strategies to deliver a project, but most use the private sector in some way. To fairly include and harness these contractors, a tendering process has been set up by Main Roads and Local Government. The design of a project is massively important to eventually assess its success. Context-sensitive design emphasises a design that matches the context of the road project. All this is eventually implemented when a project is constructed. After it is built, work on the project does not end. It has to be maintained to a high standard to prevent it degrading to an unusable state.

It is clear that while the road building process is complex, but this should not be interpreted as a weakness: despite decades of underfunding, Western Australians continue to enjoy a relatively well-maintained and efficient system. I have however recommended that more research take place on the process of road building in Western Australia. I also made two other minor recommendations:

• MRWA needs to outline the process(es) which it goes through when tendering work.
• More cooperative research on road maintenance needs to done with other Australian states and other nations.

In Part B, the major finding was that a great deal of work has been completed on Nicholson Road, Warton Road, Southern River Road, Garden Street and Ranford Road. This was due to the growth in population in the area. Projects were not confined to only minor work; indeed, some major projects are still currently ongoing. Furthermore, the relevant road authorities plan to continue upgrading these routes as the area develops.

However, given that there is an extreme lack of information on completed projects, I recommended that a report should be generated when a project is completed with details of what the road authority has done. This report could either remain archived with the road authority, or be made available to the public.

Publication Type: Internship Report (Parliamentary)
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Politics and International Studies
Notes: Student report prepared as part of the requirements of the Parliamentary and Public Sector Internship (POL322)
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