Costs on the road to ruin

During the hearing, Infrastructure Investment executive director Andrew Jaggers said the High Street component of the Perth Freight Link Project would take up 24 per cent of the overall cost, while the Roe Highway extension would eat up 47 per cent of the funding and the Stock Road upgrade would take 29 per cent.

The $384 million will consist of both state and federal funding, with last month’s WA budget setting aside $118 million for the upgrade.

The inclusion of the High Street upgrade as part of the larger project means the design and scope of the proposed intersection could change from what has been discussed in the last two years.

Fremantle MLA Simone McGurk said she was alarmed at how high the costs were becoming, saying she did not want residents to end up with a different upgrade than was originally planned.

‘It appears Fremantle residents may get an entirely different upgrade to the one that has been discussed over the last two years,’ she said.

‘The massive increase in costs suggests that the Government is planning to build an enormous trench alongside High Street from Marmion Street through to Carrington Street.

‘The Fremantle community deserves to know about the latest plans for these intersections, and it needs to be able to have a say in the project.’

Fremantle resident Barry Healy, whose group Road2Rail has been vocal with their opinions regarding the project, said all the warnings the group had given out about the project were coming true.

‘Very little of what either the state or federal governments have said about this project makes sense unless they are planning to entirely use trucks for the freight burden to Fremantle Port,’ he said.

‘All that Fremantle wants is a reasonable rebuilding of the High Street and Stirling Highway intersection so that it is quieter and safer.’

A Main Roads spokesperson said initial upgrade work was under review due to the announcement of the Perth Freight Link project, which incorporates the High Street project.

‘The review is needed in the context of the broader Perth Freight Link project to ensure that the upgrade of High Street is consistent with the objectives of the larger project,’ she said.

‘Development work has been progressing on the High Street upgrade project for a number of years and the scope of the upgrade will be modified to be consistent with the objectives of the Perth Freight Link project.

‘Community consultation will be undertaken during the development, design and construction of the Perth Freight Link project.’

What They Said (Fact Box)

Mayor Brad Pettitt: ‘Any major last minute shift in direction on this project holds both opportunities and dangers for the Fremantle community. This need to be fully considered and the community consulted before any final design decisions are made.’

MHR Melissa Parke: ‘This threatens to be the Godzilla of road projects. It’s hard to understand how so much money could be spent on a road devoted entirely to big trucks when not a cent is allocated to public transport infrastructure.’