Covering their tracks

Covering their tracks

Transport Minister Dean Nalder has repeatedly assured residents there would be a rail reserve along Tonkin Highway from Guildford Road to Reid Highway, but a tender contract reveals this is not the case.

This means future governments will need to rip up road along Tonkin Highway or find alternative methods to build a train line through Morley to Ellenbrook.

Stage one of the NorthlinkWA Project includes grade separation of the intersections of Tonkin Highway with Collier Road, Morley Drive and Benara Road.

The State Government�s tender document for the project only specifies construction of a rail reserve north of Morley Drive, with no reserve further south to Guildford Road where a connection could be made with the Midland line and future Airport line.

The tender documents for the Northlink project and advice from Main Roads are at odds with information from Mr Nalder.

Last year, he told Community Newspaper Group the upgraded highway would include space for a railway.

In Parliament on June 9, Mr Nalder also said the median strip between the Tonkin Highway lanes would be wide enough to accommodate a future rail line.

Opposition transport spokeswoman Rita Saffioti said there was confusion over what would happen to new contract documents.

�We have the Department claiming there isn�t a provision for a rail reserve and we have the Minister claiming there is,� she said.

�The Minister needs to get across his brief urgently and ensure the Northlink Project north and south of Morley Drive provides a provision for a rail reserve.

�It�s pretty simple; provide space now, save money later.

�We don�t want a situation where the government is forced to waste millions of taxpayers� money pulling up pavement and road works.�

A Department of Transport spokesperson said Main Roads was aware of the possible future rail configurations, including options to continue rail in the Tonkin Highway median south of Morley Drive.

The spokesperson said future or alternative rail options would not be restricted.

�Tender documentation has specified bridge spans and configurations that could accommodate future rail down the Tonkin Highway median and through the Morley Drive and Collier Road interchanges.�

However, Department of Transport did not answer questions over why rail reserve south of Morley Drive was not included in the contract specifications when North of Morley Drive had.

The Government�s Perth and Peel @3.5 million plan shows a �potential rail line� starting north of Morley and connecting to the Joondalup Line north of Joondalup.

This rail line, shown parallel to the proposed East Wanneroo Bypass road, plan is an early concept alignment based on Public Transport Authority investigations.

Mr Nalder was not available for comment.

Assembly Estimates – Tuesday, June 9 2015

Ms R. SAFFIOTI: I refer to the Tonkin Highway grade separations. Is the median strip between the Tonkin Highway lanes wide enough to accommodate a future rail line?

Mr D.C. NALDER: Yes.

Ms R. SAFFIOTI: Are all bridges and flyovers, particularly at the intersections of Tonkin Highway with Benara Road, Collier Road and Morley Drive, wide enough to accommodate a future rail line?

Mr D.C. NALDER: Yes.

Ms R. SAFFIOTI: Does the intersection of Tonkin and Reid Highways also allow for a future rail line?

Mr D.C. NALDER: Yes.

Ms R. SAFFIOTI: Is the NorthLink project north of Tonkin and Reid Highways being built to accommodate a future rail line?

Mr D.C. NALDER: Yes.