Court injunction temporarily halts construction of controversial highway

Court injunction temporarily halts construction of controversial highway

An 11th hour Federal Court injunction temporarily halted the construction of a contentious major highway project in Western Australia.

The clearing of bushland to make way for the $1.25 billion Bunbury Outer Ring Road began this week after a chorus of backlash from the local community who claim the highway will cause irreversible environmental damage.

The injunction issued by the Federal Court of AustraliaFederal Court of Australia last Friday prevents Main Roads and its contractors from doing any more clearing work on the southern section of the road through the semi-rural community of Gelorup.

On Monday, a clearing of the land, which sits on a 40-year-old road reserve, began after a visit by former Greens leader Bob Brown to the site.

At least five people have been arrested at the site since locking themselves on to machinery and climbing trees.

Opponents had been campaigning for Federal Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek to reverse her decision to sign off on environmental approvals, paving the way for construction to begin.

The Bunbury Outer Ring Road cleared all environmental hurdles at a state and federal level.

The court order is in place until a scheduled hearing on Monday afternoon.

The injunction does not prevent work on the northern section, which has been under construction for months.

Main Roads wouldn't comment on the injunction, other than to confirm that work at the site had stopped until the court hearing.