TWENTY-TWO residents from Cambrai Village in Merriwa travelled to Parliament House last week to express their concerns about traffic on Hester Avenue.
Residents of the Royal Australian Air Force Association retirement facility are worried that the extension of Mitchell Freeway to Hester Avenue, where the village is located, will result in increased traffic.
Butler MLA John Quigley raised a grievance motion on their behalf and said a solution was needed for the “dangerous stretch of road”, suggesting the extension continue to Romeo Road.
“The Opposition is calling upon the Government to make this announcement now, because terminating the freeway extension at Hester Avenue will be a disaster for the suburbs of Merriwa, Ridgewood and Clarkson,” Mr Quigley said.
“The problem now is that we have nearly 500 elderly residents using their vehicles and trying to turn right out of Burton Drive, which is the street that exits out of the village, on to Hester Avenue, which has two lanes each way and no slip lanes, no roundabout and no traffic lights.
“Tragedy is inevitable.”
Mr Quigley said extending the freeway to Romeo Road was the preferred solution, followed by installing traffic lights at Burton Drive, building a roundabout outside the village or creating an 80m slip lane on the southern side of Hester Avenue.
Transport Minister Dean Nalder said a May traffic count estimated 18,500 vehicles were using Hester Avenue daily and if the freeway ended there, the 2021 predicted traffic volume would be about 32,600 per day.
“With the freeway extension to Romeo Road, the traffic volume will drop on Hester Avenue and the 2031 predicted traffic volume is around 22,700 vehicles per day,” he said.
“An analysis of crash statistics for Hester Avenue, including at intersections, for the five-year period 2010-14 shows a total of 301 crashes, with 50 per cent being rear-end crashes attributed to driver distraction.”
Of those, he said two crashes resulted in a fatality, eight in hospitalisation, 45 required medical treatment, 152 involved major property damage and 94 involved minor damage.
Cambrai Village resident and member of the freeway extension project’s Community Reference Group, Patricia Hassett, said she was disappointed the minister did not respond to their concerns.
“The roundabout, which is 150 metres from our corner is going to be upgraded to a two-lane arterial road as well but there has been no consultation whatsoever with the Cambrai management of RAAFA until recently when we’ve engaged (Mr Quigley) to assist us,” she said.
Main Roads WA refuted claims it had not consulted with the village.
Spokesman Dean Roberts said a representative was consulted during the development of the business case as was a member of the Community Working Group and the group continued involvement as a member of the project’s Community Reference Group and Construction Reference Group.
He said part of the extension works included a new interchange at Hester Avenue, the widening of Hester Avenue from Hidden Valley Retreat to Wanneroo Road to be dual lane, and some modifications to the intersections at Hidden Valley Retreat and Wanneroo Road.
“In addition, the City of Wanneroo is widening Connolly Drive between Neerabup Road and Hester Avenue to include two lanes in both directions and Main Roads will be modifying the Connolly Drive/Hester Avenue roundabout to address council concerns and meet traffic needs,” Mr Roberts said.
“(The residents’) concerns regarding Hester Avenue have been noted and the City of Wanneroo and Main Roads will monitor the traffic post-completion to ensure there are no significant traffic impacts.”