$35m pledge to widen Mitchell Freeway

Mitchell Freeway near Ocean Reef Road.
Mitchell Freeway near Ocean Reef Road.

THE Federal Government says it has allocated $35 million to widen the Mitchell Freeway and called on the State Government to fund the other half of the project.

Cities, Urban Infrastructure and Population Minister Alan Tudge joined Liberal MPs and candidates at Edgewater train station this morning to announce funding included in the 2019-20 Budget to widen the freeway between Hodges Drive and Hepburn Avenue.

“Our money is there; it’s actually in the budget; it’s not an election promise,” he said.

Cities, Urban Infrastructure and Population Minister Alan Tudge with Pearce MHR Christian Porter.

Pearce MHR Christian Porter said the 7km project would fix bottlenecks in the morning commute for northern suburbs residents.

“Anyone who has been on this freeway can understand how critical this project is,” he said.

“People spend an hour in bottle necks to get 10 to 15km.

“This can be fixed really quickly.”

FEDERAL ELECTION: Cities, Urban Infrastructure and Population Minister Alan Tudge at Edgewater train station talking about funding for Mitchell Freeway upgrades. What do you think should be a priority in the lead up to the May 18 election? Read more at https://bit.ly/2GmkNKG .

Posted by Joondalup-Wanneroo Times/Weekender on Sunday, 14 April 2019

Moore MHR Ian Goodenough said the investment would bust congestion for the people of his electorate.

“We want to improve life for all West Australians and these congestion busting projects will do just that,” he said.

Mr Porter said given the 50-50 funding arrangement to extend the Mitchell Freeway to Romeo Road, it was expected the State Government would also provide 50 per cent of the funding for the widening project.

Mr Tudge said there was also $1.6 million allocated to upgrade Gnangara Road in Aveley “to unblock congestion” between Henley Brook Avenue and Egerton Drive, with an expectation the City of Swan would provide the other half of funding required.

UPDATE, 2.40pm: WA Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said the funding would not cover half the cost of the project, expected to cost $76 million.

A statement from Mr Porter’s office said the Urban Congestion Fund would provide about $40 million for several projects, including widening works on the Mitchell Freeway from Hodges Drive to Hepburn Avenue, and from Reid Highway to Erindale Road.

Ms Saffioti said the extra southbound lane from Hodges Drive to Hepburn Avenue was estimated to cost $76 million and the Reid Highway to Erindale Road would add extra costs.

“It is nothing more than a token gesture, which would only fund a fraction of the freeway projects they are proposing,” she said.

“This allocation of less than half the cost of the project shows the Federal Coalition is not serious about this freeway upgrade, particularly after having six years to fund it.

“If they were serious about these projects, we would have seen them in the Federal Budget two weeks ago.”

The State Government plans to start building the Mitchell Freeway extension to Romeo Road, co-funded with the Federal Government, in 2020 with completion expected in late 2021.

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