Construction starts on Wanneroo Rd-Ocean Reef Rd flyover

The Wanneroo Road-Ocean Reed Road interchange sod-turning.
The Wanneroo Road-Ocean Reed Road interchange sod-turning.

CONSTRUCTION has started on the $64.8 million Wanneroo Road-Ocean Reef Road interchange.

Federal and State politicians marked the start of construction with a ceremonial sod-turning on Sunday.

WBHO Infrastructure Pty Ltd – SRG Civil Pty Ltd Joint Venture won the contract to design and build the interchange in January and construction of the flyover is expected to finish in late 2020.

The project aims to improve north-south connectivity, with $51.84 million provided by the Federal Government and $12.96 million by the State Government.

Federal Cities, Urban Infrastructure and Population Minister Alan Tudge said the upgrade and a $77.5 million project to widen Reid Highway would bolster the congestion busting solutions to get people home sooner and safer.

“The Wanneroo Road and Ocean Reef Road interchange is one of three Wanneroo Road projects worth a total of $146 million to keep the north-eastern suburbs moving,” Mr Tudge said.

“Wanneroo Road widening between Joondalup Drive and Flynn Drive is about to be completed, and construction is well-under way at the Wanneroo Road and Joondalup Drive interchange.

“The three complementary projects will significantly improve congestion by delivering more consistent and reduced journey times.”

Mr Tudge said the interchange project would create about 350 jobs, while the Reid Highway widening was estimated to create 400.

WA Transport and Planning Minister Rita Saffioti said both projects were key 2017 State election commitments.

Moore MHR Ian Goodenough with Transport Minister Rita Saffioti and Wanneroo MLA Sabine Winton.

Moore MHR Ian Goodenough said the Wanneroo Road-Ocean Reef Road intersection had been one of the most congested in the metropolitan area, ranked Perth’s 13th most congested in the 2017 Australian Road Research Board Report.

“The grade separated interchange will improve east-west connectivity between coastal suburbs and employment centres such as Wangara and Malaga by replacing traffic signals at the current intersections,” he said.

“More efficient transport linkages will reduce commuting times for residents in the coastal suburbs of Moore and promote the economic development of commercial and industrial activity centres.”

Congestion at the intersection led to a concerning safety record, with 197 crashes recorded between 2013 to 2017, including 167 rear-end collisions.

Wanneroo Council concerned about impact on local roads

CONCERNS about the impact the Wanneroo Road-Ocean Reef Road interchange will have on local roads arose at Wanneroo Council’s March meeting.

The council considered a report on project updates and traffic modelling on March 5 and asked the mayor to write to transport minister about concerns raised by the City and community.

Councillor Dot Newton said she was concerned about a lack of communication so far, acknowledging she hadn’t realised what the interchange would look like at the previous week’s briefing.

“I hadn’t worked out that Wanneroo Road was going over Ocean Reef Road,” she said.

The plans propose making the Villanova Street junction a left-in, left-out turn only, and creating a U-turn about 200m north for motorists to use if they want to travel south on Wanneroo Road.

“The biggest problem at the moment is going to be that U-turn,” Cr Newton said.

“I’m not comfortable with Main Roads’ statement that ‘yes, you will be able to find a gap in the traffic’.

“I don’t believe that it’s going to work.”

Cr Newton asked the mayor to include a request for a public meeting in her letter to the minister.

Cr Samantha Fenn said at the other interchange with Joondalup Drive there had been “enormous amounts of community consultation” in response to concerns and issues raised by residents.

Cr Paul Miles said he’d heard a lot of complaints about the lack of consultation and information from Main Roads.

He asked the mayor to write to the premier as well as the minister to highlight their concerns.

Wanneroo MLA Sabine Winton however said she found “overwhelming support” for the upgrade among residents when doorknocking and called on the City to solve the issues.

“This interchange has long been called for by the City of Wanneroo and is part of its advocacy strategy,” she said.

“There are a number of concerns that have been raised in relation to local road access and ‘rat runs.’

“These are not new issues but are long-standing ones that residents have been raising with the City of Wanneroo over many years.

“Rather than blame or shift the responsibility of these issues to Main Roads, it would be more constructive of the City of Wanneroo to work together for the benefit of the residents and solve these issues once and for all.

“It is frustrating that the City’s report has not offered any solutions to the issues identified despite having spent many years undertaking numerous studies and reports at a huge expense to our ratepayers.”