PLANS to upgrade and extend Henley Brook Avenue to Reid Highway are well-advanced and construction is expected to start within two years.
The project aims to relieve congestion issues on West Swan Road, where traffic jams regularly extend several kilometres from the Reid Highway intersection during peak hour.
Once the four-lane Henley Brook Avenue extension is complete, West Swan Road will become a dedicated tourist and local traffic route.
The City of Swan also proposes West Swan Road be closed north of Gnangara Road. This is set to be complemented by the Perth-Darwin Highway, which is planned to divert heavy traffic away from Great Northern Highway – the Swan Valley’s other major tourism route.
A preliminary cost estimate based on the concept design is $36 million, split between developer contributions and City funding.
The plan has created divisions between candidates in the City of Swan’s Swan Valley/Gidgegannup ward election over the approach to reducing traffic.
Mayor Charlie Zannino is pushing for the four-lane upgrade of Henley Brook Avenue, while candidate Rod Henderson believes Lord Street should be upgraded to four lanes first, followed by a different method of extending Henley Brook Avenue.
Mr Henderson said he supported the eventual extension of Henley Brook Avenue to Youle-Dean Road so it could connect to Lord Street.
“There’s definitely a need to get traffic off West Swan Road and currently Lord Street is where most of the traffic goes, so it makes sense to upgrade that first,” he said.
Mr Henderson claimed developers in the area would only fund a two-lane extension, meaning City of Swan would be out of pocket.
But Cr Zannino said the relevant approvals being finalised and anticipated construction would start within 12-24 months.
“Both Henley Brook Avenue and Lord Street will carry the same amount of traffic in the future due to the amount of development flagged in the area,” he said.
Land acquisition will be required to complete the Henley Brook Avenue project, many of the properties are already owned by the City or the State Government.
Swan chief executive Mike Foley said the City was preparing detailed plans and would speak to affected landowners “in due course”.
Mr Foley said no decision had been made on where the project will start first.
“There are a number of factors to be taken into account such as the availability of funding, service locations, and land acquisition before the City can determine which section will be constructed first,” he said.
The Advocate made attempts to contact Swan Valley/Gidgegannup ward candidate Andrew Kiely for his views but he did not respond.