THE City of Wanneroo could soon seek to offload responsibility for Marmion Avenue as a petition circulates to widen the road from Butler to Yanchep.
According to a council report that recommends asking the State Government reclassify it as a State road, the City would not be able to widen it for almost a decade.
The agenda for last week’s Wanneroo council briefing session recommended the mayor write to the State Government asking it to reclassify the road.
However, following several questions from elected members, the City’s assets director Harminder Singh withdrew the report until December for further investigation.
Reasons given in the recommendation included the importance of Yanchep as a Strategic Metropolitan Centre and the financial ability of the State Government to upgrade Marmion Avenue earlier than the City could.
“It will take about nine years for us to dual Marmion Avenue up to Yanchep,” Mr Singh said.
According to the November 1 report, the Metropolitan Regional Roads Group road improvement grant program capped the amount of funding per local government at $3 million per year.
Through that program, the State Government will fund two-thirds of the current $5 million project to widen 2.3km from Lukin Drive to Butler Boulevard.
Mr Singh said the City had applied for the 2017-18 funding round already, to widen the next stretch – a 1.7km section between Camborne Parkway and Graceful Boulevard/Romeo Road that would cost about $3.5 million.
“The remaining 9.8km of Marmion Avenue is currently unfunded, but based on the estimated cost per kilometre, would be expected to cost in the order of $20 million,” the report said.
“Even if the City is successful in receiving continuous funding at the same rate for Marmion Avenue ‘dualling’, it can take up to 2025-26 to deliver.”
Mr Singh said each year it would have compete with other projects in the City that may score higher in priority, including Hartman Drive, Pinjar Road, Flynn Drive, Connolly Drive and Joondalup Drive.
“We have a large number of roads which are single carriageways,” he said.
“We normally look at three or four projects every year and submit the highest scoring one.”
The report said the City and neighbouring City of Joondalup made a joint application to Main Roads WA (MRWA) to reclassify Marmion Avenue as a primary distributor road between Ocean Reef Road and Lukin Drive in July 2011.
A month later, both cities and the City of Swan applied to reclassify Ocean Reef and Gnangara roads, but the report said MRWA denied both requests.
It said although Marmion did not meet the criteria for a highway at the time, it could be considered in the future.
“It would be appropriate to reconsider the matter once Yanchep has been developed to the point where it is clearly functioning as a strategic metropolitan centre,” it said.
The report said given to the importance of Yanchep as a rapidly growing centre and the high traffic volumes using Marmion Avenue, the City had a strong case for reclassifying the road.
“Based on previous similar projects, it is expected to cost in the order of $2M per kilometre to improve Marmion Avenue to a four-lane dual carriageway,” it said.
The recommendation also proposed the mayor write to the State Government seeking reclassification of Ocean Reef Road and Gnangara Road “considering the importance of Ellenbrook as a secondary centre and the important role in the movement of freight these roads provide”.
The City allocated $2 million to start the Marmion Avenue road-widening project between Lukin Drive and Butler Boulevard in its 2016-17 Budget.
At the briefing session, councillors expressed concern that if Marmion Avenue became a State road, widening it may not be a priority for the State Government for several years.
North Coast ward councillor Linda Aitken has started a petition for the City to make Marmion Avenue a dual carriageway from Butler to Yanchep.
Cr Aitken is the Liberal candidate running against incumbent Labor MP John Quigley in the Butler electorate in next year’s State Election.
At the Two Rocks Yanchep Residents Association meeting on October 24, Cr Aitken said she had started a petition to ask the City of Wanneroo to “budget for and fast track” widening the road.
She said the City would have a public display at Butler Community Centre on November 17 from 6.30-8.30pm for its current proposal to widen Marmion Avenue between Lukin Drive and Butler Boulevard.
The Wanneroo resident said construction was due to start next March, and finish by September 2017.
“I have been pushing repeatedly for ‘dualling’ of Marmion Avenue north of Butler Boulevard,” she said.
“As this is a council road, it’s a City responsibility.”
Mr Quigley has also pushed for Marmion Avenue to become a dual carriageway, criticising the State Government for the lack of funding for it in the 2016-17 State Budget.