Revised plans for Murdoch Drive extension “politically motivated” and send traffic to Melville claims Mayor

Melville Mayor Russell Aubrey stands at the intersection of Bibra Drive and Farrington Road, which is slated to close in the latest plans for the Murdoch Drive extension.
Melville Mayor Russell Aubrey stands at the intersection of Bibra Drive and Farrington Road, which is slated to close in the latest plans for the Murdoch Drive extension.

REVISED plans for the Murdoch Drive extension are “politically motivated” and designed to funnel traffic destined for Fremantle through Melville’s southern suburbs, according to Mayor Russell Aubrey.

The latest plans for the $100 million upgrade, released last week, depict a new Farrington Road flyover that will direct traffic exiting Roe Highway or the Kwinana Freeway directly onto Murdoch Drive.

Additionally, Bibra Drive will be converted into a cul de sac, eliminating its current intersection with Farrington Road.

Mr Aubrey accused Willagee MLA Peter Tinley of stepping in to have the plans changed in an attempt to reduce traffic movements in his electorate.

He said the City of Melville had not been consulted about the changes, which Mr Aubrey believes will result in a drastic increase in car movements along Murdoch Drive and subsequently west along South Street and Leach Highway.

“The plan originally was to put a roundabout or traffic lights at the intersection of Farrington Road and Murdoch Drive,” Mr Aubrey said.

“Now they’ve changed that to a grade separation and decided to cul de sac Bibra Drive.

“This clearing channels traffic that would otherwise go along Farrington Road onto Murdoch Drive and raises considerable concerns about growth in traffic through the area.

“Traffic coming from the south of our city going to Fremantle has no business coming through Melville – what’s happening is Roe Highway traffic is being dumped on our city.”

Mr Tinley said the Murdoch Drive extension had been planned in various forms for more than a decade and was designed to streamline traffic connections to Roe Highway and Kwinana Freeway and provide better access to Fiona Stanley Hospital and Murdoch.

“The Government is currently considering a range of options prior to the planned public forum and as the member for Willagee, I was recently briefed on those options,” he said.

“Obviously, the final format of the extension is a decision for the Minister for Transport Rita Saffioti.”

Mr Tinley also rubbished Mr Aubrey’s claims that he had met with the mayors of Fremantle and Cockburn to discuss the plans but had extended no such invitation to the Melville mayor.

“In fact, the only mayor to have approached me is Russell Aubrey, one week after the State election, during which he advocated for the Murdoch Drive extension,” Mr Tinley said.

The Metropolitan Road Improvement Alliance is hosting a community information session to discuss and answer questions about the project at the Lakeside Recreation Centre from 9am to 4pm on Saturday, August 19.

Mr Aubrey encouraged Melville residents to attend and voice any of their concerns.

“If people are wiling to accept this additional traffic that is fine but I don’t think they are,” he said.