Fears of access and job losses in Wanneroo as State Government prepares to award $50 million interchange contract

A Main Roads WA concept plan for the Wanneroo Road-Joondalup Drive interchange and surrounding road upgrades.
A Main Roads WA concept plan for the Wanneroo Road-Joondalup Drive interchange and surrounding road upgrades.

DROVERS Place business owners are concerned reduced access will lead to job losses as the State Government prepares to award contracts for a $50 million interchange.

Drovers Market Place owner Ray Jackson and Wanneroo Botanic Gardens owner Paul Woodcock raised concerns about the impact upgrades to the Wanneroo Road-Joondalup Drive intersection will have at a meeting with Main Roads WA.

The State Government plans to award a contract for the project next month, with construction to start in about August or September and finish by the end of 2019.

The changes will include building a flyover on Joondalup Drive, allowing east-west traffic to travel over a roundabout on Wanneroo Road.

Right-turns from Joondalup Drive to Drovers Place and St Stephens Drive will be blocked, apart from for emergency vehicles accessing Drovers Place and the Joondalup Fire Station.

That would mean people wanting to head east would need to turn left out of Drovers Place and travel around the Burns Beach Road roundabout, exiting back onto Joondalup Drive.

Eastbound traffic that wanted to turn into Drovers Place would need to travel around the Wanneroo Road roundabout and go back along Joondalup Drive to turn left into the parallel road.

“The outcome that we get here is so unsatisfactory for our road,” Mr Woodcock said, adding it would force people to use the Drovers car park to get onto Wanneroo Road.

“It’s an unacceptable arrangement.”

Project director Chris Raykos said restricting turns to left-in, left-out at the Drovers Place junction along Joondalup Drive was the safest option.

“Main Roads has looked at a number of design options and it was determined that the left in-left out configuration is the safest option” he said.

“Main Roads has looked at signals; we looked at a roundabout but neither option works as they would compromise east-west traffic flow.”

Mr Jackson said about 600 people were employed within the Drovers precinct five years ago, when businesses pushed for upgrades to the access from Joondalup Drive.

He said restricting the access to those businesses could reduce the number of jobs, whereas the interchange project would create up to 120 jobs over the 18-month construction timeframe.

Mr Raykos said, while congestion had eased since the Mitchell Freeway extension to Hester Avenue opened last August, there would be traffic problems at the intersection by 2023.

According to Main Roads, congestion levels by 2029 would be similar to those experienced before the freeway extension opened, resulting in long delays, queues not clearing the intersection and safety risks.

“We have an opportunity to deliver a permanent solution to projected traffic growth in this location ahead of time,” Mr Raykos said.

“Delivering the project now will enable us to minimise the impacts on the road network during construction.

“Construction will be less complex and the overall project cost will be lower.”

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Main Roads modelling predicted eastbound traffic would increase by 15 per cent, resulting in an 80 second delay by 2023 and more than 110 second delay by 2029.

Mr Raykos said Main Roads would facilitate discussion with the City and landowners about connecting the Wanneroo Road-Clarkson Avenue intersection to the Drovers precinct, but did not have the authority to build it.

There have been 20 crashes at the Joondalup Drive and Drovers Place junction in the past decade.

Increasing crash risk predicted if right turns remain open at Drovers Place

THERE have been 20 crashes at the Joondalup Drive-Drovers Place junction in the past decade, according to Main Roads WA.

However, if the right-turns remained open, Main Roads predicted the risk of crashes was likely to increase following completion of the Wanneroo Road-Joondalup Drive interchange project.

“Free flowing east-west traffic on Joondalup Drive will see a reduction in the number of gaps in the traffic, making right turn access at Drovers Place far more dangerous,” Mr Raykos said.

Main Roads did traffic counts at the junction last September, which found 44 vehicles turned right into Drovers Place during the morning peak and six turned right out of the side road into Joondalup Drive.

“This compares with 2533 vehicles going straight through on Joondalup Drive,” Mr Raykos said.

“During the afternoon peak period, 96 vehicles turned right into Drovers Place from Joondalup Drive; 33 turned right out of Drovers Place onto Joondalup Drive.

“This compares with 3521 vehicles going straight through on Joondalup Drive.

“The low percentage of right-turning vehicles demonstrates that traffic signals cannot be justified and would compromise east-west flow.”

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