Road surveyed but no widening plan yet

Warren HatelyAugusta Margaret River Times
Details on Main Roads WA's upgrade to the Caves Road scenic drive will be reported midyear.
Camera IconDetails on Main Roads WA's upgrade to the Caves Road scenic drive will be reported midyear. Credit: Picture: Warren Hately, Warren HatelyPicture:

Main Roads WA has tamped down fears among residents that a major widening project is about to kick off.

Residents along the route described by stakeholders as one of the State’s most popular tourist drives were stirred last week as engineers started marking roads as part of a major survey from Yallingup to Augusta.

Three residents, who asked not to be identified, said they had discussions with contractors in which future resumption of private property fronting Caves Road was mooted.

But a MRWA spokeswoman said no plan was yet developed.

The Times understands funds for any upgrade were not yet included in the MRWA budget. “We are currently surveying this length of Caves Road to collect baseline data to inform the strategy, and locals may have noticed surveyors along the road,” MRWA said.

“Engineers have not been on site having discussions with landowners. “We have also recently undertaken safety audits on some intersections,” the spokeswoman said.

“This work is progressing slowly to ensure a measured approach in developing safety improvements to reduce road trauma that have been agreed to by community and key stakeholders.”

As reported last year, clearances as wide as 15m were feared as part of the project to make the route safer for motorists.

MRWA later refuted the 15m claim, last year saying the scope was focused only on the stretch from Yallingup to Rainbow Cave Road in Margaret River. MRWA formed a consultation group, which the Times understands last met in March.

Shire of Augusta-Margaret River acting infrastructure director David Nicholson said the May workshop discussed “issues and options”.

“The next step is for MRWA to prepare a response to these issues and options and present proposals back to the community reference groups,” he said.

MRWA said there were no plans yet for tree removal or land purchases, with “Future proposals for any road treatments” to be reported to stakeholders.

The project aimed “to preserve and enhance the character of Caves Road and its function as a tourist route and ensure that the road is managed and developed to its greatest potential”.

It would include speed reductions, a review of signs, possible stopping points, road edge works, intersection upgrades, widening to seal shoulders, and possible wireless internet connections to help tourism.

The Shire is also investigating listing the route on WA’s State Heritage Register.

MRWA would report its findings midyear.

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