Yanchep: Infrastructure Australia approves $700m federal contribution to Metronet rail projects

Eglinton station Metronet Yanchep rail extension.
Eglinton station Metronet Yanchep rail extension.

INFRASTRUCTURE Australia has endorsed federal funding of $700 million for Metronet projects to build the Thornlie-Cockburn link and Yanchep rail extension.

Acting chief executive Anna Chau said the Metronet program of rail projects was designed to address the problem of capacity constraints on Perth’s rail network, previously highlighted on the Infrastructure Priority List as an initiative requiring action in the short term.

“Growing urban congestion in greater Perth has been identified by Infrastructure Australia as a nationally significant problem, driven in part by the city’s limited public transport options and a tendency towards low-density development which has led to high car use compared to other Australian capital cities,” she said.

“As part of the overall program, the Yanchep rail extension and Thornlie-Cockburn link will enable more people to use public transport and reduce pressure on the road network.

“Perth’s population has grown strongly over the past 20 years, and is expected to increase from 2 million people in 2017 to 2.9 million people by 2031, and 3.5 million people by 2050.

“Creating more integrated transport networks will be essential to guard against congestion and overcrowding.

“Congestion on the Mitchell Freeway means that journeys on this road can take twice as long as they should, with cars travelling at an average of 50km/h in the morning peak when the speed limit is 100km/h.

“The Yanchep rail extension involves extending the Joondalup Line from Butler station to Yanchep, with new stations planned for Alkimos, Eglinton and Yanchep.”

The proposed Thornlie-Cockburn link involves the construction of two train stations, Nicholson Road and Ranford Road, and construction of a passenger rail corridor which follows the Midland to Kwinana freight line.

“The WA Government’s proposal to link Thornlie station on the Armadale Line to Cockburn Central station on the Mandurah Line will improve network connectivity and relieve pressure on existing interchanges, such as at Murdoch,” Ms Chau said.

The Federal Government’s contribution will join the State Government’s commitment of $356 million for the two projects, which will be delivered under a single alliance contract.

Federal Minister for Cities, Urban Infrastructure and Population Alan Tudge said being added to the priority list meant WA was a step closer to solving some major congestion issues.

Pearce MHR Christian Porter said the Yanchep Rail extension project would extend the existing Joondalup Line railway 14.5km.

“The project is expected to stimulate new employment opportunities in the Yanchep area, address road congestion through enhanced connections and support future sustainable land use planning,” he said,

“These new links will transform the areas they travel through from under-utilised industrial or rural areas to bustling new urban centres with a host of residential and business opportunities.

“More than 3000 jobs are expected to be created.”

Both rail extensions are now enshrined in law after State Parliament passed enabling legislation this month.

The Railway (Metronet) Bill 2018, due to receive Royal Assent, will authorise construction of the rail infrastructure for the two projects.

“We have worked closely with Infrastructure Australia to thoroughly address their assessment criteria in demonstrating how these projects will help build a future Perth that is connected and offers people more choices for travel, housing and jobs,” Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said.

“Infrastructure Australia approval and the passing of enabling legislation marks an exciting new stage for these major projects.”

The Public Transport Authority is currently in the market for the alliance contract and expects to announce a shortlist for tenderers in early 2019.

Geotechnical investigations began earlier this month for the both projects and the Denny Avenue level crossing removal.

The investigations by Golder Associates include core sampling, ground water testing and cone penetrometer testing, and is expected to take six months to complete.