Completion of the first phase of Bussell Highway’s upgrades have been pushed back by more than a month and may continue into September as the region comes out of the wettest July in 25 years. It was originally scheduled to finish last month but contractors have lost about 40 days of work on the Busselton Highway Duplication Project after almost 200m of rain bucketed down on the region. According to a Main Roads WA spokesperson, the delay could continue into the coming months as wet weather continues into August. However, it’s not all doom and gloom for the $85 million development as the overall project remains on track. “The higher-than-usual rainfall has delayed pavement construction and sealing work,” the spokesperson said. “Weather permitting, stage one of the Bussell Highway Duplication Project is expected to be completed in the coming months. “Early work on stage two ... commenced this week, well ahead of the October schedule.” The Bussell Highway Duplication Project involves a 17km stretch of the highway between Busselton and Capel being upgraded, with the first stage duplicating a 5km stretch of the carriageway between Spurr Street and Hutton Road. Stage two, which was originally scheduled to begin in October, includes duplicating a 12km stretch of highway between Hutton Road and Sabina Road, and the construction of three bridges. The segment of highway was labelled the “riskiest” road in regional WA by the RAC in 2019, and has been at the centre of persistent calls for increased safety measures for the past decade. WA Police have also begun to crack down on speeding motorists through the reduced speed zone to avoid further damage and delays to roadworks. South West Police Supt Geoff Stewart said the separate traffic unit, based at Capel, was patrolling on a regular basis, and motorists were on notice. “On top of that, we have police vehicles travelling through the roadworks every day several times a day,” Supt Stewart said. “We are there every day at all hours.” At the start of the project, State Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said the improvements would significantly reduce travel time between Perth and the South West. “This project, combined with the Bunbury Outer Ring Road, will save motorists travelling between Perth and Busselton at least 15 minutes — and likely a lot more during holiday periods,” she said. The Federal Government has committed $68m to the project, with the rest coming from the State Government.