Main Roads seeks feedback on Mitchell Freeway extension

Main Roads is running an online survey on the Mitchell Freeway extension from Hester Avenue to Romeo Road.
Main Roads is running an online survey on the Mitchell Freeway extension from Hester Avenue to Romeo Road.

RURAL landowners and business operators say road connections will have economic benefits as consultation opens on the next Mitchell Freeway extension.

The State Government has invited feedback on plans to extend the freeway from Hester Avenue to Romeo Road, with construction expected to start late next year.

North Wanneroo Residents Association chairman Mark Zagar said the group wanted a connection from the Lukin Drive interchange to Wanneroo Road.

“It would provide desperately needed economic stimulus for struggling farmers, local businesses and resident families,” he said.

“It would reduce congestion, particularly heavy haulage trucks, on Wanneroo Road, where there has been many recent fatal accidents.”

Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said the freeway extension and Metronet’s Yanchep Rail Extension would create thousands of jobs and, once built, facilitate development of more homes, businesses and jobs in the area.

“At this stage, the extension of Lukin Drive east of the Mitchell Freeway has not been progressed for environmental reasons,” she said.

Map of the proposed Mitchell Freeway extension from Hester Avenue to Romeo Road.

Ms Saffioti said there would be east-west connections about 2km south of Lukin Drive at Hester Avenue and 3km north at Romeo Road, which would connect from Wanneroo Road to Marmion Avenue.

Mr Zagar said the association approached Opposition transport spokeswoman Libby Mettam after Wanneroo MLA Sabine Winton said she did not support having Lukin Drive extend through Neerabup National Park.

Ms Winton told Community News most people were delighted there would be an east-west connection at Romeo Road because the current link at Pipidinny Road was “unsatisfactory”.

“Romeo Road will serve that purpose; there’s absolutely no need for Lukin,” she said.

“Having that connection at Lukin further sterilises Neerabup National Park.”

However, Mr Zagar said there already other roads through the national park, including Hester Avenue and Neerabup Road, with underpasses for wildlife, walkers and mountain bike riders.

“It would be the only freeway interchange in Perth without an east-west connection,” he said.

Romeo Road will link to Wanneroo Road.

The Nowergup resident said having the link from Lukin Drive was also important if there were bushfires, giving more detour options, but Ms Winton, who also lived in Nowergup, said Romeo Road would provide that.

Ms Mettam recently visited the area and said, given community support, the State Government should consider the Lukin link as part of the project scope.

“Community consultation on the freeway extension is finally underway, so I would encourage members of the community to contact Main Roads to make their views on this known,” she said.

Ms Saffioti said as part of planning for the project and stakeholder engagement, Main Roads was running an online survey to determine the issues that were a priority for the community.

Main Roads is running a survey on the Mitchell Freeway extension project until September 27 at www.mysaytransport.wa.gov.au .

North Wanneroo Residents Association chairman Mark Zagar, Benara Nurseries director Gavin James and Opposition transport spokeswoman Libby Mettam.

Freeway upgrades to cut travel times for truck fleet

Benara Nurseries transport manager Bryan Cuming said the freeway extension would reduce travel time for the Carabooda company’s fleet of 14 delivery trucks.

“When the extension opened to Hester Avenue it saved most of my drivers minimum five minutes on travel from each route,” he said.

“I am anticipating a similar outcome with the extension to Romeo Road as it’s only a few kilometres down the road from our workplace, compared to about 10km to Hester Avenue.

“Any of my trucks that have to get across to Butler, Jindalee way currently have to use the route of either Hester Avenue or Pipidinny Road.

“Once the new route opens up, it will shave a vast time off our travels as well as savings of wear and tear and fuel to our vehicles.

“We currently service those suburbs and surrounding on nearly a daily basis.

“Basically the road can’t come soon enough, and we live with great anticipation once it’s nearly built.”

Benara financial controller Darren Shyne said the family-run business, which started 56 years ago, employed about 300 people and had 1500 customers across WA.

Mitchell Freeway southbound traffic. File picture

Mr Shyne said trucks “got stuck on the freeway every morning” so they also wanted it widened southbound between Hodges Drive and Hepburn Avenue.

Ms Saffioti said the State Government wanted the Federal Government, which promised $35 million prior to the May election, to provide more money for the project, expected to cost about $76 million.

“The Commonwealth has contributed 80 per cent of funds for other metropolitan road projects and we see this as no different,” she said.

“This was an election commitment given by the Federal Government and they need to ensure they provide WA with its fair share of funding for this project.”

The minister said the freeway extension was part of a suite of transport infrastructure improvements to support the growing outer northern suburbs.

“The freeway extension will alleviate pressure on the local road network, reduce travel times and improve safety and connectivity for people living and working in the region now and into the future,” she said.

“The upgrade of Wanneroo Road is also well underway with construction on the new Wanneroo Road and Ocean Reef Road starting earlier this year.

“Other projects include the recently completed widening of Wanneroo Road between Joondalup Drive and Flynn Drive, and the Wanneroo Road and Joondalup Drive interchange and the duplication of Marmion Avenue, which are both currently under construction.

“Perth’s north will undergo a significant transformation in coming years, with the Metronet Yanchep Rail Extension.

“We are spending a record amount on the northern suburbs.”