Henley Brook: Robert St residents against widening of road to 8m

Dean Baily and daughter Indi (2) with other Robert Street residents. Picture: Bruce Hunt d473076
Dean Baily and daughter Indi (2) with other Robert Street residents. Picture: Bruce Hunt d473076

HENLEY Brook residents opposing a City of Swan plan to widen their street to 8m as part of its reconstruction fear it will encourage more traffic and higher speeds.

Robert Street’s Dean Bailey said while residents recognised an upgrade to the road surface was needed, they were urging the City to consider a more conservative width increase of 5.5-6m.

A letter handed to the City earlier this month voicing residents’ concerns said the “ridiculous” increase proposed from its current width of 5.4m would risk safety and not preserve the area’s rural setting.

It said 14 of the 18 property owners on the street were involved in equestrian pursuits and could no longer ride or lead their horses on or near the road because of existing issues with excessive speeds, rat running and hoon behaviour.

Residents said these problems would only worsen if the 8m widening goes ahead.

“We used to be able to ride our horses on the street and now, even when you’re loading them on a float, you take your life into your hands,” Mr Bailey said.

“It’s a 70km/h zone and it should be a 50km/h zone but cars do 100km/h down there.

“I spoke to the residents and everyone just said that (8m) is completely over the top; 5.5 to 6m is considered the standard for a residential street and we’re all happy with that.”

He said there were new suburban streets that were significantly narrower coping with much higher traffic volumes.

“We don’t have 1000 cars a day going down that street, it should only be a handful of cars,” he said.

“Increased traffic volumes and increased speed, they’re the two biggest things from a safety point of view and we want to preserve the rural lifestyle, that’s the whole reason people come to the Swan Valley.”

City chief executive Mike Foley said the 8m width would bring the road up to current road design standards and allow the road to include two 3.5m lanes, with a 0.5m sealed shoulder on either side of the carriageway.

“This not only improves the driving surface, but the safety of the road,” Mr Foley said.

He said City officers were investigating alternative carriageway widths to determine whether a reduced carriageway width could be accommodated and still satisfy current design standards.

“The City has already carried out consultation with local residents, which included notifying residents of the proposed works (by letter) and providing them with an opportunity to provide feedback,” he said.

“Once the comment period has closed, the City will engage with local residents to determine whether a solution that satisfies the City’s requirement to provide a safe road network and the community’s concerns can be reached.

“The City is currently reviewing the residents’ feedback which will be considered as part of the design process.”

He said as well as widening the road, reconstruction plans for Robert Street included the rip, shape and reseal of the road, bringing pavement thickness up to 240mm, reshaping open drains where needed and tree pruning on the south-west corner of the Gnangara/Robert intersection.

“The reconstruction was deemed necessary after City inspections found the chip seal pavement was suffering from structural cracking, edge breaks, edge drops, stripping, rutting and patched sections along its length,” he said.

“Pavement testing undertaken in October 2016 also showed a 5mm thick seal and a base layer of gravel varying from 145-355mm thick.

“A design has been drafted and residents have been asked to provide feedback on the proposed works.”

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