ROADSIDE visits near the Mitchell Freeway and Wanneroo Road were part of a Federal minister’s itinerary yesterday.
Urban Infrastructure and Cities Minister Paul Fletcher met with local politicians beside Hester Avenue in Ridgewood and the construction site off Carramar Road on March 8 as part of his trip to Perth.
The first stop was to discuss a push to extend the Mitchell Freeway from Hester Avenue to Romeo Road with Pearce MHR Christian Porter, Moore MHR Ian Goodenough and Wanneroo Mayor Tracey Roberts.
Mr Fletcher later met with WA Premier Mark McGowan and Transport Minister Rita Saffioti at the Wanneroo Road widening project site.
Mr Porter has been running a petition to extend the freeway and calling on the State Government to commit to it in its next budget so he could advocate for federal funds.
“The extension up to Hester has made such a difference to our communities,” he said.
“The final piece of the jigsaw puzzle for all the people in our local coastal communities is getting the freeway extension (to Romeo Road).”
Mr Fletcher said it was good that there was already a road reserve for the extension north of Hester Avenue, avoiding “political angst” associated with the cost of land resumption in other parts of Australia.
“Having that core transport corridor as we have here with both the rail and freeway, that reflects for State planning going back many years,” he said.
“It’s about the transport corridor having the capacity for the number of people that are using it.”
Mr Goodenough said the freeway helped residents use Joondalup as a regional hub for employment and they had made another submission to get federal funds to widen parts of the freeway further south.
Mrs Roberts said the community response to the Connect Wanneroo campaign had shown the freeway extension was a priority.
Mr McGowan said the $31 million dual carriageway project on Wanneroo Road would lead to safer, faster journeys to homes and businesses in the northern suburbs.
He said the projected population growth of 20 per cent in the next five years made the upgrade more important to keep the area accessible for residents and businesses.
Mr Fletcher said the Wanneroo Road widening project was the first of 17 road projects resulting from the $2.3 billion WA Infrastructure Package, which included $1.6 billion from the Federal Government.
“This project alone will create 175 direct and indirect jobs while the WA Infrastructure Package is expected to support around 6000 jobs,” he said.
Ms Saffioti said the project would accommodate increasing volumes of traffic generated by population growth and industrial development in the north-west metropolitan corridor.
“People will start to see a host of road projects, across Western Australia, get underway this year – improving our road network, delivering jobs and complementing our Metronet vision,” she said.
Mr Porter said the project would remove a well-known pinch point on Wanneroo Road, leading to safer and more efficient journeys.
“Works include construction of the new 3.2km dual carriageway, upgrading Golf Links Drive and Carramar Road intersections, upgrading existing formal driveways on Wanneroo Road, and installing noise walls between Joondalup Drive and Carramar Road,” he said.
“Construction will be completed by late 2018.
“It complements other significant works in the northern corridor and is the first of three fully funded upgrades to Wanneroo Road.”
Mr Porter said construction of an interchange at Joondalup Drive was expected to start mid-2018 and another at Ocean Reef Road expected to start in late 2018.
Wanneroo Road between Joondalup Drive and Flynn Drive is currently an isolated section of single carriageway with limited opportunities for overtaking, creating a dangerous bottleneck at peak hour.
About 26,000 vehicles a day use the section of road and traffic volume is steadily increasing due to urban and industrial growth in the surrounding areas.
The Wanneroo Road dual carriageway project from Joondalup Drive to Flynn Drive is jointly funded the Federal Government, which is contributing $24.8 million, and the State Government contributing $6.2 million.