Perth Freight Link: report finds $820m worth of road upgrades needed if road not built

Melville Mayor Russell Aubrey in front of a vandalised Roe 8 sign.
Melville Mayor Russell Aubrey in front of a vandalised Roe 8 sign.

THE southern western suburbs of Perth will need more than $820 million worth of road upgrades to ease traffic congestion if the Perth Freight Link is not completed, according to a new report.

The study was commissioned by the South West Group of Councils, which includes Cockburn, Melville, Fremantle, East Fremantle, Kwinana and Rockingham.

Melville Mayor Russell Aubrey described the report as a “bombshell” and “game-changer” and blasted his fellow South West Group mayors for their continued resistance to Roe 8 and the Perth Freight Link.

“It is now irrefutably evident from this facts-based non-political report that the extension of Roe Highway is an irreplaceable component of current and future transport infrastructure needs,” he said.

The report was prepared by former WA Department of Planning and Infrastructure director general Greg Martin and details an extensive list of upgrades to the South West Metropolitan regional road network.

Chief among the required works are grade separations at the intersections of Leach Highway and Stock Road ($80 million) and Leach Highway and North Lake Road ($70 million).

The report states both projects would likely require the resumption of land occupied by nearby commercial and residential properties but does not provide an estimate for the acquisitions costs.

Public transport in the form of light rail or rapid bus transit on South Street was ruled out.

Both options were found to be contingent on the Perth Freight Link freeing up road space on the busy east-west link.

“I am mortified by the level of selfishness displayed by my surrounding mayors who are continuing to support an Outer Harbour that is more than a decade away and would do nothing to ease the 75,000 vehicles congesting local roads and blocking access to key facilities like Fiona Stanley Hospital,” Mr Aubrey said.

“The infrastructure upgrades on local roads required to replace the Roe 8 and 9 are conservatively costed at $820 million which does not include land acquisition, compensation to property and business owners and the direct social consequences to local residents of loss of jobs and property values.

“This would elevate the cost of the alternative infrastructure beyond the cost of building Roe 8 and 9.”

Cockburn Mayor Logan Howlett and his Fremantle counterpart Brad Pettitt joined Roe 8 protestors at the site of preliminary construction work last week where they confirmed their support for a new Outer Harbour.

Both men declined to comment on the findings of Mr Martin’s report.

South West Group director Mick McCarthy said the organisation had chosen not to establish a position on the Perth Freight Link due to the contrary positions held by member councils.

“The report prepared by Greg Martin has provided the board with a better understanding of the economic and social implications for the region and the primary road network in the event that the Perth Freight Link does not proceed,” he said.

“The provisional estimates included in the report are considered conservative and based on the costs for similar projects undertaken in the Perth Metropolitan Area recently.”

Melville council has voted to endorse the findings of the report and set aside $50,000 for an advertising campaign to raise awareness of its contents.

Greg Martin’s report details the broader economic and social consequences of not constructing the Perth Freight Link as:

1. Regional road network congestion affecting access and mobility

2. Constrained road capacity for east-west travel from home to jobs and activity centres

3. Effective reduction in the employee catchment for employers and job choices for employees

4. A constraint on expansion plans and investment in employment and activity centres

5. Reduced road freight productivity and freight efficiency due to stop/start urban traffic

6. Road-based public transport forced to operate in the “whole of transport mix” on major roads

7. Disruption to progressing the integrated planning of public and private investment and development in the region

8. Reduce the potential comparative advantage of existing commercial and industrial infrastructure and business operations in the South West Metropolitan Region

9. Loss of State and local government revenue from expected up-valuing of property through improved amenity from general reduction in growth of traffic