A CONSORTIUM led by Leighton Contractors is expected to be signed to construct the first stage of the Perth Freight Link, the State Government has announced.
Premier Colin Barnett and Transport Minister Dean Nalder visited Bibra Lake this afternoon to reveal a contract would be signed with the preferred proponent by the end of the year.
This will be followed by “a process of detailed design, to be informed by community input”, the Government said in a statement.
Construction on Roe 8, which will link Roe Highway from the Kwinana Freeway to Stock Road via Beeliar Wetlands, will begin earlier next year.
“This is a key milestone in the journey to delivering a safer, more efficient road network in Perth’s southern suburbs,” Mr Barnett said.
“Roe 8 will take 5,000 trucks off local roads and make it easier for people to access Fiona Stanley Hospital while delivering faster journey times for people who live and work south of the river.
“Critically, it will provide the necessary transport infrastructure to support the current port and associated commercial areas of Fremantle, as well as ensuring access to a future port facility to the south.”
A number of protestors greeted State representatives at the site to show their displeasure.
Rethink Perth Freight Link Alliance co-convenor Kate Kelly said she was baffled by the decision.
“As you can see the community is very engaged and very upset about what’s going on,” she said.
“We know as people start to become informed about what’s happening they start to get really concerned, they don’t want the extreme spend of money on something that basically is unnecessary.”
Ms Kelly pulled back on earlier threats of direct action, saying protestors were focusing on other avenues.
“Let’s wait and see if they can build it legally because we’re taking them to court,” she said.
“We believe they’ll be stopped at that court level (and) they’ll have to re-assess it environmentally.
“There are many issues with the environmental impact assessment on this Roe 8 section.”