Coolgardie–Esperance Highway

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Coolgardie–Esperance Highway
Western Australia
Map
Map of south-west Western Australia with Coolgardie–Esperance Highway highlighted in red
General information
Type Highway
Length 370.82 km (230 mi)[1]
Gazetted 16 August 1957[2]
Route number(s)
Major junctions
North end Great Eastern Highway (National Highway 94 / Alternate National Route 94), Coolgardie
 
South end Esperance Port
Location(s)
Major settlements Widgiemooltha, Norseman, Salmon Gums, Grass Patch, Gibson
Highway system
Highways in Australia
National HighwayFreeways in Australia
Highways in Western Australia

Coolgardie–Esperance Highway is a 370-kilometre (230 mi) Western Australian highway between Coolgardie and Esperance. It runs in a north–south direction linking the state's Eastern Goldfields to the coast.[3]

The Coolgardie–Norseman stretch (National Highway 94) forms part of the Perth to Adelaide National Highway route and has a higher proportion of heavy traffic. This section passes through an undulating countryside, mainly dotted with patches of trees, scrub and salt lakes. The interstate traffic continues eastwards via Eyre Highway from its junction in Norseman. The Norseman–Esperance portion (National Route 1) is a part of Australia's Highway 1. The scenery changes to agricultural land, and on approach to Esperance it passes near lakes and hillsides.

Following the Western Australian gold rushes of the 1890s, a track developed between Coolgardie and Esperance, the closest harbour to the goldfields. A road was constructed along this track in the late 1920s and 1930s. From the late 1930s attention turned to sealing the road, but it took until 1960 before a single-lane seal was constructed between Coolgardie and Esperance. The road was gazetted as Coolgardie–Esperance Highway three years earlier, on 16 August 1957. Further work occurred between 1974 and 1980, providing a two-lane sealed road for the length of the highway.

Route description[edit]

Highway sign at Norseman

Coolgardie–Esperance Highway commences at Great Eastern Highway at Coolgardie. It heads south as National Highway 94 to Norseman, the starting point of the interstate route Eyre Highway. Coolgardie–Esperance Highway continues south as National Route 1 to the coastal town of Esperance, at a roundabout with Harbour Road, Fisheries Road, and Norseman Road.[4] Harbour Road is the southernmost section of the highway,[5] a controlled-access[1] bypass of the town linking to South Coast Highway and the Esperance Port.[4]

Photograph
Coolgardie–Esperance Highway approaching Salmon Gums

Coolgardie–Esperance Highway is generally a two-lane single carriageway road, with a speed limit of 110 kilometres per hour (70 mph), except in and around built up areas.[3][6] Between Coolgardie and Norseman the highway proceeds through "undulating, timbered, and salt lake country",[7] while south of Norseman it travels across agricultural land, and on approach to Esperance it passes near lakes and hillsides.[8] There are few towns on the highway: Coolgardie, Widgiemooltha, Norseman, Salmon Gums, Grass Patch, Gibson, and Esperance.[4] These are mostly separated by distances of 50 to 100 kilometres (30 to 60 mi), except for Salmon Gums–Grass Patch and Gibson–Esperance which are only 29 kilometres (18 mi) and 22 kilometres (14 mi) apart respectively.[9]

Main Roads Western Australia monitors traffic volume across the state's road network, including various locations along Coolgardie–Esperance Highway.[10]:3 In 2013/14, the traffic volume ranged between 350 and 4000 vehicles per day, with the highest volume recorded south of South Coast Highway. The highest percentage of heavy traffic was 51.6% north of Goldfields Highway.[10]:5

The reported safety of Coolgardie–Esperance Highway has varied between assessments. Reports commissioned by the Royal Automobile Club of Western Australia (RAC) in 2006 and 2008 the entire highway a three-star safety rating out of five. The state's overall highway network was generally rated as three-star or four-star, with around 10% in 2006 and 5% in 2008 receiving a two-star rating.[11][12] The National Highway section was assessed by the Australian Automobile Association in 2011 to be among the lowest risk highways in the country, based on total number of casualty crashes[a] per length of road. However, individual risk based on casualty crash rates per vehicle kilometre travelled was assessed as medium-high.[13] In 2013, that portion of the highway was assessed as having 7% of its length rated as one-star, 47% as two-star, and 46% as three-star out of five stars.[14]

History[edit]

Background[edit]

Following the Western Australian gold rushes of the 1890s, a track developed between Coolgardie and Esperance, the closest harbour to the gold fields. Horse-drawn carts would transport supplies and travellers along the 240-mile-long (390 km) route. Due to the sandy nature of the track, horse feed shipped into Esperance needed to be distributed to various points along the track. The Eastern Goldfields Railway from Perth to Kalgoorlie opened in 1897, and a branch railway extended down to Norseman in 1909. By this time, however, it was much cheaper to transfer goods by rail from Fremantle, and no longer profitable to cart goods along the track from Esperance to Norseman.[15]

Construction[edit]

The newly formed Main Roads Board[b] took over control and maintenance of the Coolgardie–Esperance route and twenty-one other important roads between 1926 and 1928, which were declared "main roads". To increase the usability of the overall main road network, the work schedule for these roads prioritised the worst individual segments, rather than any one road.[c][16]:27–28 The Coolgardie to Esperance route was allocated £3,000 for new construction in the first year of these arrangements.[17][18] By January 1927, construction had commenced on an eight-mile (13 km) portion north of Salmon Gums, which had been colloquially known as "The Glue Pot".[19]

Construction works continued in the following years, including around Widgiemooltha in 1929,[20][21] Scaddan in 1930,[22][23] and at Higginsville in 1931.[24] From October 1931, work on the northern end and southern end of the road was included as part of the government sustenance work scheme, funded by a federal grant. In 1932 the Red Lake–Grass Patch–Treslove section was worked on,[25] and a portion at Salmon Gums was improved in 1933,[26] with the continuation of the relief work scheme resulting in £5000 being allocated to the road.[27] By August 1933, the whole route was reported to be in reasonable condition, apart from some rough portions between Coolgardie and Widgiemooltha.[28]

Construction of the Coolgardie–Widgiemooltha section was completed in 1934, and opened to traffic progressively between June and September of that year.[29][30][31] The constructed length was extended to Pioneer between late-1934 and May 1935,[32][33] with works then progressing to the Pioneer–Norseman portion.[34][35] The works at Norseman were by August nearly complete,[36] and by November construction was underway south of Norseman, on the Scaddan–Gibson section.[37] Further construction was undertaken in early 1936 south of Norseman and Gibson,[38][39] and near Esperance later in the year.[40] The Red Lake to Treslove portion was under construction in 1937,[41] with further work near Esperance, Widglemooltha, and Treslove in 1938.[42][43][44]

Sealing[edit]

In 1938, attention from local governments in the area focused on providing a sealed road along the highway. The matter was raised at the April 1938 conference of local governing bodies,[45] and again in September 1939.[46] In 1945, it was noted by the Commissioner of Main Roads that it could be years before Coolgardie–Esperance Highway would be sealed. Such work was still to be completed on the Merredin–Southern Cross road, having been discontinued due to war and not yet restarted as bitumen was in short supply.[47]

Work to provide a bitumen surface was under way by January 1948,[48] with 8.5 miles (13.7 km) prepared for surfacing by April through "reconditioning and tar priming".[49] In July, Minister for Works Doney stated that there was no time frame for works beyond the eight miles (13 km) section out of Coolgardie.[50] There were no further surfacing works planned in 1950,[51] nor in 1952 while Great Eastern Highway was still yet to be fully sealed.[52] In April 1953 the Dundas Road Board considered bitumenising the road an urgent matter, especially the section north from Norseman.[53] Dr. D. N. Kirkham of the Dundas Road Board considered that section to be a "disgrace to the country", the poorest quality experience along the interstate route between Sydney and Perth.[54]

The road was gazetted as Coolgardie–Esperance Highway on 16 August 1957,[d][2] but remained unsealed until 1960, when a 3.7 metre wide (single-lane) seal was completed between Coolgardie and Esperance.[56] In 1974 the road was upgraded further and a two lane seal completed was between Coolgardie and Norseman.[56] In 1980 a two lane seal was completed between Norseman and Danielle Siding, completing the two lane seal from Coolgardie to Esperance.[56]

Esperance Port Access Corridor[edit]

The Esperance Port Access Corridor project upgraded Harbour Road in Esperance to improve freight access. It involved realignment of the road and railway leading to the port to provide grade separation between them, through a rail tunnel under Harbour Road and a local road connection (Twilight Beach Road to The Esplanade) via a bridge over the railway. The project was funded by the state and federal governments.[57] Construction commenced in 2012, with the turning of the first sod on March 15 by federal transport minister Anthony Albanese and state transport minister Troy Buswell.[58] The project was completed in June 2014.[57]

Major intersections[edit]

LGA Location km[1] mi Destinations[4][5] Notes
Coolgardie Coolgardie 0.00 0.00 Great Eastern Highway (National Highway 94 west / Alternate National Route 94 east) – Coolgardie, Perth, Kalgoorlie Northern highway terminus
Widgiemooltha 54.36 33.78 Goldfields Highway (Alternate National Route 94) – Kambalda, Kalgoorlie
Dundas Norseman 164.28 102.08 Eyre Highway (National Highway 1) – Balladonia, Adelaide Route transition: southern terminus of National Highway 94, northern terminus of National Route 1
Esperance ChadwickCastletown boundary 365.04 226.83 Fisheries Road east / Norseman Road south – Albany, Condingup, Esperance town centre Roundabout; Southern extent named as "Coolgardie–Esperance Highway", continues west named as "Harbour Road" (National Route 1)
Chadwick 366.38 227.66 South Coast Highway (National Route 1) – Ravensthorpe, Albany Route transition: southern extent as National Route 1, no route number further south
Nulsen 368.85 229.19 Pink Lake Road west – Pink Lake
Esperance 368.97 229.27 Pink Lake Road east
370.82 230.42 Smith Street to Twilight Beach Road & The Esplanade Southern highway terminus; access to Esperance Port
  •       Route transition

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The Australian Automobile Association's How Safe are our Roads? Rating Australia's National Network for Risk report defines a casualty crash as "any road crash in which at least one person is killed or injured and this includes serious injuries which typically represent one third of casualty crashes".[13]
  2. ^ Predecessor to the Main Roads Department, later renamed Main Roads Western Australia
  3. ^ For example, in 1928/29, twenty-two separate sections of the Perth–Albany road were improved, but the whole route was not completely sealed until 1939.[16]:27–28, 435
  4. ^ The section from Coolgardie to Norseman was originally gazzetted as part of Eyre Highway on 11 June 1943[55]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Main Roads Western Australia. Road Information Mapping System (Map). Government of Western Australia. Retrieved 22 April 2016. 
  2. ^ a b "Land Act, 1933–1956: Naming and Change of Name of Roads in the Coolgardie, Dundas and Esperance Road Districts (per 798/42)" (PDF). Western Australia Government Gazette. 16 August 1957. p. 2469. 
  3. ^ a b Google (14 March 2013). "Coolgardie–Esperance Highway" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved 14 March 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c d Main Roads Western Australia (13 August 2013). Goldfields-Esperance Region map (PDF) (Map). 1:2,127,656. Version 1.0. Government of Western Australia. Archived from the original on 29 August 2013. Retrieved 22 April 2016. 
  5. ^ a b Main Roads Western Australia (28 February 2011). "Goldfields-Esperance Network" (PDF) (Map). Intergrated Service Arrangement. 1:5,263,158. Government of Western Australia. Archived from the original on 3 August 2013. Retrieved 22 April 2016. 
  6. ^ Main Roads Western Australia. Road Information Mapping System (Map). Government of Western Australia. Retrieved 21 April 2016. 
  7. ^ "By Road to Adelaide". The West Australian. 61, (18,270). Western Australia. 30 January 1945. p. 3. Retrieved 21 April 2016 – via National Library of Australia. 
  8. ^ "Through the Mallee". Kalgoorlie Miner. 40, (10,181). Western Australia. 30 October 1934. p. 6. Retrieved 21 April 2016 – via National Library of Australia. 
  9. ^ Google (22 April 2016). "Coolgardie–Esperance Highway: Directions between towns" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved 22 April 2016. 
  10. ^ a b "Statewide Traffic Digest 2009/10 – 2014/15" (PDF). Main Roads Western Australia. 2015. Archived (PDF) from the original on 24 December 2015. Retrieved 24 December 2015.  Additional archives: 24 December 2015.
  11. ^ Roberts, Paul; Affum, Joseph; Taylor, Samantha (August 2006). "AusRAP Star Rating Maps and Road Protection Scores for Rural Western Australian Roads" (PDF). Royal Automobile Club of Western Australia. Archived (PDF) from the original on 7 April 2015. Retrieved 7 April 2015.  Additional archives: 7 April 2015.
  12. ^ "Safer Roads: Star Ratings for WA's Major Highways" (PDF). Royal Automobile Club of Western Australia. January 2008. Archived (PDF) from the original on 7 April 2015. Retrieved 7 April 2015.  Additional archives: 7 April 2015.
  13. ^ a b Australian Road Assessment Program (19 January 2012). "How Safe are our Roads? Rating Australia's National Network for Risk, 2011" (PDF). Australian Automobile Association. pp. 6, 28–31. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2 February 2014. Retrieved 22 June 2014.  Additional archives: 11 September 2015.
  14. ^ "AusRAP Star Ratings Report" (PDF). Australian Automobile Association. 2013. pp. 24–25. Archived (PDF) from the original on 27 November 2013. Retrieved 27 November 2013.  Additional archives: 11 September 2015.
  15. ^ "Esperance – The Playground of the Goldfields". The Daily News. Western Australia. 6 April 1935. p. 19. Retrieved 25 March 2016 – via Trove (National Library of Australia). 
  16. ^ a b Edmonds, Leigh (1997). The Vital Link: A History of Main Roads Western Australia 1926–1996. Nedlands, Western Australia: University of Western Australia Press. ISBN 1-875560-87-4. 
  17. ^ "Projects Outlined". Western Mail. Perth, WA. 11 November 1926. p. 15. Retrieved 25 March 2016 – via Trove (National Library of Australia). 
  18. ^ "New Road Scheme". The South-Western News. Busselton, WA. 12 November 1926. p. 5. Retrieved 25 March 2016 – via Trove (National Library of Australia). 
  19. ^ "Road Construction". The West Australian. 28 January 1927. p. 11. Retrieved 25 March 2016 – via Trove (National Library of Australia). 
  20. ^ "Main Roads Board". Western Argus. 35, (2049). Western Australia. 10 September 1929. p. 17. Retrieved 21 April 2016 – via National Library of Australia. 
  21. ^ "Coolgardie Notes". Kalgoorlie Miner. 35, (9294). Western Australia. 22 August 1929. p. 1. Retrieved 21 April 2016 – via National Library of Australia. 
  22. ^ "Main Roads Board Tenders". The West Australian. XLVI, (8,629). Western Australia. 15 February 1930. p. 9. Retrieved 21 April 2016 – via National Library of Australia. 
  23. ^ "State of the Roads". The Daily News. XLIX, (17,114). Western Australia. 11 March 1930. p. 7 (Home Final Edition). Retrieved 21 April 2016 – via National Library of Australia. 
  24. ^ "State of the Roads". Western Argus. 38, (2137). Western Australia. 26 May 1931. p. 31. Retrieved 21 April 2016 – via National Library of Australia. 
  25. ^ "Country News". The West Australian. XLVIII, (9,368). Western Australia. 6 July 1932. p. 6. Retrieved 21 April 2016 – via National Library of Australia. 
  26. ^ "Salmon GUms Notes". Kalgoorlie Miner. 39, (9754). Western Australia. 15 June 1933. p. 3. Retrieved 21 April 2016 – via National Library of Australia. 
  27. ^ "Programme Enlarged". Western Mail. XLVIII, (2,467). Western Australia. 25 May 1933. p. 19. Retrieved 21 April 2016 – via National Library of Australia. 
  28. ^ "Main Roads". The West Australian. XLIX, (9,720). Western Australia. 24 August 1933. p. 5. Retrieved 21 April 2016 – via National Library of Australia. 
  29. ^ "Main Roads". The West Australian. 50, (9,976). Western Australia. 21 June 1934. p. 4. Retrieved 22 April 2016 – via National Library of Australia. 
  30. ^ "Main Roads". The West Australian. 50, (15,006). Western Australia. 26 July 1934. p. 5. Retrieved 22 April 2016 – via National Library of Australia. 
  31. ^ "Motors & Motoring". Sunday Times (Perth) (1910). Western Australia. 2 September 1934. p. 9 (Second Section). Retrieved 22 April 2016 – via National Library of Australia. 
  32. ^ "Road Conditions". Sunday Times (Perth) (1925). Western Australia. 16 December 1934. p. 15 (First Section). Retrieved 22 April 2016 – via National Library of Australia. 
  33. ^ "Main Roads". Western Mail. 50, (2,568). Western Australia. 9 May 1935. p. 24. Retrieved 22 April 2016 – via National Library of Australia. 
  34. ^ "Main Roads". The West Australian. 51, (15,255). Western Australia. 16 May 1935. p. 4. Retrieved 22 April 2016 – via National Library of Australia. 
  35. ^ ""The Daily News" Section For Motorists". The Daily News. LV, (18,821). Western Australia. 16 July 1935. p. 8 (City Final). Retrieved 22 April 2016 – via National Library of Australia. 
  36. ^ "Condition of District Roads". The Daily News. LV, (18,843). Western Australia. 10 August 1935. p. 5 (Late City). Retrieved 22 April 2016 – via National Library of Australia. 
  37. ^ "Main Roads". The West Australian. 51, (15,405). Western Australia. 7 November 1935. p. 6. Retrieved 22 April 2016 – via National Library of Australia. 
  38. ^ "Road Conditions". Sunday Times (Perth) (1986). Western Australia. 16 February 1936. p. 9 (Second Section). Retrieved 22 April 2016 – via National Library of Australia. 
  39. ^ "State of the Roads". The Daily News. LV, (19024). Western Australia. 10 March 1936. p. 4 (FINAL). Retrieved 22 April 2016 – via National Library of Australia. 
  40. ^ "Road Conditions". The West Australian. 52, (15,642). Western Australia. 13 August 1936. p. 6. Retrieved 22 April 2016 – via National Library of Australia. 
  41. ^ "Road Conditions Report". Sunday Times (Perth) (2081). Western Australia. 12 December 1937. p. 23 (First Section). Retrieved 22 April 2016 – via National Library of Australia. 
  42. ^ "Main Roads". The West Australian. 54, (16,088). Western Australia. 20 January 1938. p. 4. Retrieved 22 April 2016 – via National Library of Australia. 
  43. ^ "Road Conditions". The West Australian. 54, (16,142). Western Australia. 24 March 1938. p. 7. Retrieved 22 April 2016 – via National Library of Australia. 
  44. ^ "Report on Road Conditions". Sunday Times (Perth) (2103). Western Australia. 15 May 1938. p. 10 (Sporting Section). Retrieved 22 April 2016 – via National Library of Australia. 
  45. ^ "Esperance Road". Western Argus. 34, (2491). Western Australia. 19 April 1938. p. 20. Retrieved 25 April 2016 – via National Library of Australia. 
  46. ^ "Esperance Road". Kalgoorlie Miner. 45, (11,613). Western Australia. 13 September 1939. p. 3. Retrieved 25 April 2016 – via National Library of Australia. 
  47. ^ "Items of News". Kalgoorlie Miner. 51, (13,518). Western Australia. 9 November 1945. p. 4. Retrieved 25 April 2016 – via National Library of Australia. 
  48. ^ "Items of News". Kalgoorlie Miner. 54, (13,189). Western Australia. 14 January 1948. p. 4. Retrieved 25 April 2016 – via National Library of Australia. 
  49. ^ "Road to Perth". Kalgoorlie Miner. 54, (13,255). Western Australia. 14 April 1948. p. 2. Retrieved 25 April 2016 – via National Library of Australia. 
  50. ^ "The Road to Perth". Kalgoorlie Miner. 54, (14,323). Western Australia. 3 July 1948. p. 3. Retrieved 25 April 2016 – via National Library of Australia. 
  51. ^ "Coolgatdie-Esperance Road". Kalgoorlie Miner. 56, (15,700). Western Australia. 2 May 1950. p. 4. Retrieved 25 April 2016 – via National Library of Australia. 
  52. ^ "Road Cost £15,000". Sunday Times (Perth) (2840). Western Australia. 10 August 1952. p. 23 (Country Edition: Sporting Section). Retrieved 25 April 2016 – via National Library of Australia. 
  53. ^ "Road Board Requests Urgent Consideration Be Given To Bitumenising Coolgardie-Esp. Rd". Coolgardie Miner. VII, (286). Western Australia. 9 April 1953. p. 3. Retrieved 25 April 2016 – via National Library of Australia. 
  54. ^ "Coolgardie-Esperance Road". Coolgardie Miner. VII, (286). Western Australia. 9 April 1953. p. 2. Retrieved 25 April 2016 – via National Library of Australia. 
  55. ^ "Eyre Highway (per 798/42)" (PDF). Western Australia Government Gazette. 11 June 1943. p. 600. 
  56. ^ a b c Tricholo, P. (June 1980). Coolgardie-Esperance highway, Western Roads: official journal of the Main Roads Department, Western Australia, 5(2), p.13-16. Perth: Main Roads Department
  57. ^ a b Main Roads Western Australia (3 September 2014). "Esperance Port Access Corridor". Government of Western Australia. Archived from the original on 23 April 2016. Retrieved 16 May 2016.  Additional archives: 16 May 2016.
  58. ^ Albanese, Anthony (15 March 2012). "Works Begin on Esperance Port Access Corridor" (PDF). Media Statement. Parliament of Australia. Archived (PDF) from the original on 16 May 2016. Retrieved 16 May 2016. 

External links[edit]

Route map: Bing / Google

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