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Cowaramup residents claim win on expanded traffic study with Shire of Augusta-Margaret River and Main Roads WA

Warren HatelyAugusta Margaret River Times
Cowaramup Road Safety Committee spokesperson Lisa Bell with Joel Hall and Brodie Gilbert, with dog Gary.
Camera IconCowaramup Road Safety Committee spokesperson Lisa Bell with Joel Hall and Brodie Gilbert, with dog Gary. Credit: Warren Hately/Augusta-Margaret R/RegionalHUB

Road safety campaigners in Cowaramup are feeling like they’ve had a breakthrough after meeting with the Shire of Augusta-Margaret River and Main Roads WA earlier this month.

The meeting, which came on the heels of residents forming a Cowaramup Road Safety Committee, has seen a Shire study expanded to consider wider traffic and safety issues within the township by the end of this financial year.

Meanwhile, Main Roads has confirmed it will advance as-yet unfunded plans to help pedestrian safety at the hamlet’s troubled crossing, with a refuge island a potential solution.

Committee spokesperson Lisa Bell said residents were “cautiously optimistic”.

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“The scope of the proposed Cowaramup traffic study has been expanded,” she said.

“It is now an integrated transport strategy. We understand that considers pedestrian and cyclist routes, parking, as well as the road network.

“We support a strategic approach being undertaken.”

The committee has pushed for a new master plan for Cowaramup, which is under pressure from booming resident and tourist numbers using the town centre despite an often unattended pedestrian crossing for school children.

But Ms Bell said “long-overdue infrastructure works need to be effective and undertaken in the short, medium and long term”.

“The initiative could have been undertaken years ago when the land was being rezoned and subdivided, and it was clear that the volumes of through traffic would increase in line with development throughout the rest of the shire,” Ms Bell said.

“Substantial delays in the initiation of the project means that we will be exposed to obvious and deteriorating road safety risks for an extended period of time.”

She urged the Shire to fast-track the study with technical designs and funding strategies.

Despite welcoming the two agencies coming to the table, Ms Bell wanted “innovative solutions and active identification of funding sources” to make the project a priority.

“We don’t have time for excuses like having missed deadlines for next year’s budget,” she said.

“We don’t want to hear that the road reserve is too constrained or interventions are too expensive.”

Shire sustainable development and infrastructure director Nick Logan said a consultant was recently appointed to the project, which would include consultation with residents and Main Roads, and would take several months to complete.

“As part of the process, there will be an analysis of traffic growth, movements of people, intersection performance, the pedestrian crossing on Bussell Highway, as well as future parking demands in Cowaramup’s town centre,” he said.

“This study will then inform a precinct-planning exercise for Cowaramup, similar to the one currently under way for Augusta.”

A Main Roads spokesperson said it would consult with the Shire and the committee to “explore the potential for short-term solution/s to assist with the pedestrian movements through the town”.

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