Orchid Park residents fear being cut off during Northlink upgrades


Rita Saffioti, with some of the plans for the new road system, and Bennett Springs resident Lisa Martin with Jessica and Jayden. Picture: David Baylis        www.communitypix.com.au   d452708
Rita Saffioti, with some of the plans for the new road system, and Bennett Springs resident Lisa Martin with Jessica and Jayden. Picture: David Baylis        www.communitypix.com.au d452708

As part of the $500 million second stage, Tonkin Highway will be upgraded, with an interchange built at Tonkin and Reid highways, and flyovers at Beechboro-Reid, Marshall-Tonkin and Benara-Tonkin intersections.

The Tonkin and Reid highways intersection is considered one of the top 15 most dangerous intersections in the state.

Orchid Park resident Lisa Martin said the estate, along with a section of Bennett Springs, would be “blocked in nicely”.

“I don’t think a lot of people in Bennett Springs understand what the changes mean,” she said.

“I don’t know how they expect us to get to Reid Highway to go to, say Midland; right now I just turn left.

“They’ve cut our three major access points.”

Ms Martin said it currently took her about nine minutes to get home from work, but she would now need to go past Whiteman Park and |double back.

“To go right on to Reid and left on to Tonkin, you’d have to go all the way down Beechboro Road to the Benara-Beechboro lights, then I’ll have to go to Morley-Beechboro lights,” she said. “Those roads, which are already busy, are going to get hammered with everyone who can’t access Tonkin.”

West Swan MLA Rita Saffioti said the State Government had not worked out the impact on local roads.

“You save time on the major roads, but if you haven’t thought through the impact on the connector roads, sometimes you see traffic just moved over,” she said.

“If streets like Bennett Springs Drive are being used to access suburbs because there’s not enough access from major highways, I think that’s a potential problem.”

Ms Saffioti said ideas like a slip lane or other lanes at the Tonkin-Reid interchange could help with access for residents.

“It’s a billion-dollar project being built right behind the suburb and they can’t access it,” she said.

However, a Main Roads spokeswoman said the proximity of the Reid-Tonkin interchange to Marshall-Beechboro-Benara was too close to allow safe connections.

“Access for this area will be via Morley Drive or Hepburn Avenue, and while this may add distance in some instances, journey times are likely to be reduced overall,” she said. “Improved connections will be built for regional traffic north of Reid Highway with direct links to Hepburn Avenue, Gnangara Road and Ellenbrook.”

She said Northlink upgrades would reduce “rat running” by drivers avoiding Tonkin Highway, on local roads such Beechboro Road North. The spokeswoman said this reduction on Beechboro Road North would help improve safety issues residents currently had when leaving Orchid Park.

Construction on the central section, including at Bennett Springs, is due to be carried out early 2017 to mid-2019.