Mundaring business and Midland residents that make the commute to Mundaring are losing patience with Main Roads WA, as the safety upgrade of Great Eastern Highway continues to drag on, six months past the expected completion date of stage one.
Announced on January 17 by former Transport minister Bill Marmion and Federal Infrastructure minister Darren Chester, the safety upgrade was to be completed in two stages – first a two kilometre section between Kintore Rd and Mann St, followed by a 5.2km section between Bilgoman Rd and Kintore Rd.
During the announcement, Mr Marmion said work was expected to commence in late January and be completed by mid-2017.
The work started in February, with the construction end date scheduled for June.
However four months past the anticipated end date, works are still being undertaken, and while the calender has ticked over to November, the end date is still listed on the Main Roads WA website and the signs that along Great Eastern Highway as late October.
Nine months in, motorists that make the commute between Midland and Mundaring are furious at the constant delays and stretches of GEH where the speed limit has been halved with little apparent work going on.
However their anger is nothing compared to the owner of a business on the corner of Coppin Rd and Great Eastern Hwy that is losing money hand over fist.
Bernie Heilers, owner of Begonia Pets and Produce, says he is losing an average of $30,000 a month due to the roadworks while Main Roads WA continue to fail in their obligations, particularly with relation to communication.
“I’ve been calling them constantly, it’s the only way I can get any information out of them because they don’t communicate with you,” he said.
“I’ve had a number of times when they’ve said they’re going to be closing off Coppin Rd, so I reschedule deliveries and try and arrange everything based on the information they provide.
“Then three or four days later they close it off without telling me.
“I depend on that road being open to get deliveries.
“If we want to talk about the business, I’m losing a considerable amount of money and it’s all documented.
“I’m losing on average $30,000 a month, over the period of time they’ve been here I’ve lost over $200,000.”
Mr Heilers said that when he raised the issue of compensation with Main Roads WA, the reply was blunt.
“You know what they’ve said? Take us to court.
“What a rubbish attitude.
“This is a government department that is costing me money, a lot of money, and all they can come up with is to tell me to take them to court.”
However it’s not just the loss of money Mr Heilers has to deal with, it’s the attitude of contracts and Main Roads WA employees.
“I’ve got photos with semi-trailers full of bitumen doing a U turn in my car park and lining up in my car park.
“I call Main Roads WA and I tell them, don’t do it.
“So they stop, and that lasts about a week, then they do it again.
“I’ve had a guy driving a roller through my carpark, giving me the finger.
“They should be held accountable.
“I spoke to them about this bloke and they said oh he’s been spoken to. Has he? Because there’s been no apology on my end.
“This whole process is disgraceful and I’m not the only one bloody sick of it.”
A Shire of Mundaring spokesperson said the Shire had no comment to make on the project, while a series of question Echo News put to Main Roads WA were not answered by print deadline.
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