Murdoch Drive Connection finalised

A map of the State Government's design for Murdoch Drive Connection to Roe Highway.
A map of the State Government's design for Murdoch Drive Connection to Roe Highway.
Picture #478559b: Transport Minister Rita Saffioti and Willagee MLA Peter Tinley discuss the plans for the Murdoch Drive Connection.
A map of the State Government's design for Murdoch Drive Connection to Roe Highway. A map of the State Government's design for Murdoch Drive Connection to Roe Highway. Picture #478559b: Transport Minister Rita Saffioti and Willagee MLA Peter Tinley discuss the plans for the Murdoch Drive Connection.

TRANSPORT Minister Rita Saffioti says “balance” has been struck after the State Government finally settled on a design for the Murdoch Drive Connection.

But she conceded not everyone will be happy.

The $100 million project, to be funded with Federal Government money previously set aside for Roe 8, will see Murdoch Drive extended south from Farrington Road to Roe Highway.

The road should improve access into and out of the Murdoch Activity Centre (MAC), a growing precinct that includes Fiona Stanley Hospital.

With most of the design mapped out last year, a sticking point had been the connection between the western end of the link and the existing local road network.

The solution announced Monday by the State and Federal governments will only allow drivers to enter the new extension from Bibra Drive if they are heading north towards the MAC.

It means those looking to exit directly into Bibra Lake from Roe Highway will be pushed further down Murdoch Drive towards Fiona Stanley Hospital.

Ms Saffiotti said the final design had been refined to consider new traffic modelling and concerns from the Bibra Lake community and City of Cockburn about negative impacts on Hope Road, Farrington Road and Bibra Drive.

“We undertook further modelling and we’ve now got a connection that really services the whole road’s purpose,” she said.

“That was really (to be) the key connection to the south and to the east (while) limiting the impact on local roads.

“That’s the balance we struck.”

The City of Melville had favoured a design by Main Road WA that would allow motorists to enter and exit the new connection via Bibra Drive in Bibra Lake.“This (chosen option) will put more traffic through Melville,” Mayor Russell Aubrey said.

He said traffic on Murdoch Drive would increase from 11,000 vehicles to 63,000 by 2031, meaning more widening would likely be needed.

“The road will not carry the extra traffic as it is,” he said.

Ms Saffioti admitted there will be those “who don’t think we got the balance right”, with the City of Melville among them.

“Ultimately you have to make a decision,” she said, adding “We’re confident now we have got the right solution”.

Willagee MLA Peter Tinley said one of the “principal concerns” from locals was about ensuring the new link “didn’t overload what is already a tight space”.

“This is the best compromise we could come up with that services both the needs of the Murdoch Activity Centre and its growing capacity but also doesn’t overload local roads around Bibra Drive and Beeliar Wetlands,” he said.

Cockburn councillor Chontelle Sands said the chosen design ensured stress was not being put on local roads.

Bibra Lake Residents Association secretary Michelle Barnett said locals were happy.

“(This option) is going to have the least impact on our local road network,” she said.

“I think Hope Road and Bibra Drive would have suffered if the original plan had proceeded.”

Tangney MP Ben Morton said the connection was a “good project but can be much better”.

“The changes to the final concept plan are significant,” he said.

He said a push for further consultation was denied by the State Government.

“Further public consultation would not have affected construction,” he said.

“I am disappointed that the State Minister refused my request…”

With forward works already underway, construction should begin before mid-year.

About 700 jobs should be created, with completion expected in 2019.

The MAC is expected to support up to 35,000 jobs by 2031.