The Government of Western Australia has initiated the third stage of the South Coast Highway upgrade in the Great Southern region.

The A$30m ($21m) project will see the upgrade of a road between Albany and Jerramungup.

Western Australia’s local company Ertech has been awarded the contract to execute the work.

Western Australia Transport Minister Rita Saffioti and Albany MLA Peter Watson visited the site to mark the start of construction.

Saffioti said: “I am thrilled to be back in the Great Southern to mark the start of construction on the third stage of this important McGowan Government election commitment.

“This stage has been designed to optimise benefits for a variety of road users, including the heavy vehicle industry as South Coast Highway is an important freight transport corridor servicing the ports of Albany and Esperance.

“Once completed, the entire programme of works along South Coast Highway will provide safer travelling opportunities and improve transport efficiencies in the Great Southern region.”

The third stage of works will see the construction of two passing lanes between Bluff Creek Road and Kojaneerup West Road, as well as reconstruction and widening of South Coast Highway.

During the construction phase, the project is expected to create approximately 150 direct and indirect jobs.

The upgrade is expected to be completed by next May.

Since last year, the upgrade is being carried out on the highway in a phased manner.

The first stage covered the Mead Road section with the construction of a westbound passing lane nearly 2.5km west of Kalgan River Bridge.

Pavements were also widened from seven to 11 metres between Kilarney Road and Monty’s Leap Winery. The first stage of the upgrade was completed in June 2019.

The second stage covered the Kalgan section and involved widening the pavement from seven to 11 metres between Monty’s Leap Winery and the Kalgan River Bridge. It was completed in April 2020.

Last month, the Government of Western Australia initiated stage one of the Bussell Highway widening project.