THE City of Canning’s renewed call for the widening of Shelley Bridge has met with concern from local environmentalists.
At last month’s council meeting, councillors unanimously voted to support a campaign to make the long-mooted bridge widening project a reality.
Canning River Residents Environment Protection Association (CRREPA) – whose membership is predominantly from Rossmoyne and Shelley – wants rare wetland and remnant bushland along the foreshore protected.
CRREPA president Stephen Johnston said if the State Government agreed to widen the bridge, the project should be designed and implemented to have minimal effect on the Canning River and its foreshore.
“We appreciate that Shelley Bridge has long been a choke point on Leach Highway and would almost inevitably have to be widened to accommodate the increasing volume of traffic,” he said.
Mr Johnston said the most important foreshore areas that could be affected were a small wetland immediately north-west of the bridge and the widest remnant of fringing vegetation on the Rossmoyne-Shelley foreshore, about 50m downstream from the bridge.
“The casuarinas, melaleucas, native shrubs and groundcovers in these two areas provided nesting, preening, resting and foraging sites for birds, and the sedge banks protect the foreshore and help filter pollutants from entering the river,” he said. “If it was necessary to build an access road along this section of the foreshore during the construction phase, every attempt should be made to lessen its impact on these two areas and on trees that were planted by CRREPA volunteers connecting the two.”
Councillor Ben Kunze, who put forward the motion at last month’s meeting, recognised CRREPA’s concerns and said should ||the bridge-widening proposal go ahead it would have go through environmental assessment.
Cr Kunze said the indicative cost in 2012-2013 to widen the bridge was $60 million however, Main Roads was preparing a business case with more accurate costing. He hoped the proposed widening of the bridge would include an extra two lanes, pedestrian cycleway and on-off ramp to the Centenary Drive interchange.
City chief executive Arthur Kyron will meet the Main Roads commissioner to advocate for the project to be given high priority.