The Environmental Protection Authority’s decision to grant conditional environmental approval last month sent groups against the development into a spin. But with no funding budgeted for the more than $600 million project, it seemed destined to be pushed back.
‘It has received environmental approval but it’s a large project in the order of $600 million, so I can’t see that being done in this term. But it will be built and is important,’ Premier Colin Barnett said last week.
‘We and the Commonwealth have committed to the Swan Valley bypass project, we’ve committed to extending the freeway, we’ve committed to major urban rail projects and amongst all that, at some stage, Roe 8 comes into play, but it’s not going to be one of the earlier projects.’
While happy the project was not yet going ahead, the Opposition said the State Government had once again broken a promise to build the extension.
‘What the Liberal Party does not understand, is that it has an obligation to honour its commitments,’ Opposition transport spokesman Ken Travers said.
‘Roe 8 has always been a hollow promise.
‘The Barnett Government knows it will not fix the traffic problems in the area, which is why Mr Barnett will continue to promise it, but never deliver.’
Cockburn chief executive Stephen Cain welcomed news of the delay by saying the social and economic justification for the extension did not validate the environmental impacts brought on by its construction.
Mr Cain again highlighted the need for the North Lake flyover bridge at Cockburn Central, a project the City is willing to invest $10 million into.
‘So long as the ecological impact of Roe 8 outweighs the benefit it provides the community, the City will remain opposed,’ he said. ‘The City has already proposed the North Lake Road bridge as an alternative to Roe 8 that does not have significant ecological impacts.’
But Melville Mayor Russell Aubrey was disappointed.
‘Delaying the construction of the Roe Highway extension is a major loss for residents whose local roads are increasingly being used as alternatives to already heavily congested main roads,’ he said.
This would be exacerbated by the opening of Fiona Stanley Hospital in August 2014, he said.