Although funding approval for the project was universally applauded, key issues thrown up around it made it likely the growing backlog of local traffic and heavy vehicles travelling on Swan Valley roads would remain here for at least another decade.
Residents and businesses have been lobbying for the bypass for years and both the Swan Chamber of Commerce and City of Swan praised the funding allocation.
‘This project will be the most significant infrastructure project the Swan Valley has ever seen,’ chamber president Joe Natoli said.
‘It will take dangerous heavy haulage vehicles off our tourist roads, significantly adding to the positive tourist experience for Swan Valley visitors.’
City Mayor Charlie Zannino was similarly enthused.
‘The bypass will reduce traffic congestion and heavy freight movements through the Swan Valley tourist area, improving safety and transport efficiency, noise management and amenity,’ he said.
However, the State Government has committed only $196 million to construction of the first stage of the Swan Valley Bypass and would need to top up its funding allocation by at least another $200 million for the full 40km bypass ” between the Reid-Tonkin Highway and Muchea ” to be built.
Premier Colin Barnett told State Parliament on Tuesday the Government did not have the capacity to match the Commonwealth’s full $418 million contribution because of commitments to other major transport projects, including a rail line to Perth Airport and Metro light rail plan.
He said the Government stood by its $196 million commitment to build the first stage ” from Gnangara Road to Muchea.
Construction would start in 2016 and be completed by 2019.
Confirmation the northern section of the bypass would be built first angered some residents, who claimed not building the entire bypass would make traffic congestion worse.
One resident, who asked not to be named said: ‘If traffic is coming down the new highway from Muchea to Gnangara Road, where will it all go then?
‘Heavy traffic would face a choice of either turning right onto Gnangara Road to link up with Beechboro Road or Alexander Drive, or head east to West Swan Road. Either would likely make traffic snarls worse.’
West Swan MLA Rita Saffioti agreed. She said the Barnett Government’s plan to build the northern section of the bypass first would bring more traffic, including trucks, into the Swan Valley and the roads around Ellenbrook.