IMPROVED freight access to the port of Albany will be available this week with two milestones to be reached in the construction of the Albany Ring Road.

The completed section of road between Albany Highway and South Coast Highway is opening to traffic tomorrow [27 March] and the new bridge connecting Hanrahan Road to Frenchman Bay Road will open on Thursday.

The Western Australian government said the Ring Road link between the two highways would improve access to and from Denmark for residents of Albany’s northern and eastern suburbs, while the opening of the Frenchman Bay Road bridge over the rail line will address one of Albany’s most congested intersections and improve access between Little Grove and the CBD, and enable the final pavement and sealing works on the main Ring Road alignment to be undertaken over the coming months.

The Albany Ring Road project, which is jointly funded by the federal and WA governments, is said to be the biggest road project ever undertaken in the Great Southern region – delivering an 11-kilometre connection between Albany Highway and Princess Royal Drive, including three grade-separated interchanges at Albany Highway, South Coast Highway and Frenchman Bay Road.

The new road will divert heavy vehicles around Albany, improving freight efficiency, reducing congestion and improving safety on existing local routes, including Albany Highway, the governments say. The entire Albany Ring Road remains on track to open before the middle of the year.

The WA government also announced in February it would fund works on a $37 million flyover at the intersection of Menang Drive and Chester Pass Road, with construction scheduled to commence later this year. The new flyover will further maximise the efficiency of the Albany Ring Road route by providing free-flowing access from Chester Pass Road all the way to the port.

Federal Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government Minister Catherine King said the Ring Road was a critical project for safeguarding the long-term viability and efficiency of the Port of Albany by providing free flowing road access, which would ultimately improve competitiveness of exports from the region.

WA Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said Main Roads and their contractor Decmil had made outstanding progress on the project during the summer months.