Merriwa roundabout funding redirected to safety barriers

Hester Avenue-Baltimore Parade junction.
Hester Avenue-Baltimore Parade junction.

PLANS to build a roundabout in Merriwa have been shelved after funds were redirected to other projects.

The Public Transport Authority (PTA) had offered to build the $2.4 million roundabout on Hester Avenue last year after it had to change bus routes for safety reasons when the Mitchell Freeway extension to Hester Avenue opened in 2017.

Main Roads had originally offered to provide funds for the City of Wanneroo to build the roundabout at the Baltimore Parade junction, however the City advocated for traffic signals instead, which Main Roads did not think were a viable option.

A letter tabled at the November 5 Wanneroo council briefing said PTA would no longer proceed with the project, partly because the funds had been redirected other projects, including safety barriers in the current Mitchell Freeway widening projects.

The PTA letter also said the decision also took into consideration that the State and Federal governments had committed to extend the freeway to Romeo Road, a project that is expected to finish in about three years’ time.

“This will greatly reduce the general traffic usage of Hester Avenue that is currently using it to access the freeway,” it said.

Main Roads spokesman Dean Roberts said about 26,000 vehicles per day accessed Hester Avenue between Marmion Avenue and Connolly Drive.

“Traffic modelling shows predicted traffic volumes on Hester Avenue, just west of the freeway interchange, as 34,100 vehicles per day (vpd) in 2021 with the freeway to Hester Avenue only and 24,500 vpd in 2031 after the freeway is extended to Romeo Road,” he said.

Mr Roberts said there had been 75 crashes, none fatal, on the stretch between Marmion Avenue and Connolly Drive between August 4, 2017 when the freeway extension opened, and December 31, 2018.

The council meeting agenda said a review of Main Roads’ five-year crash data from 2014 to 2018 showed there had been one crash at the RAAFA Cambrai Village entry on Hester Avenue.

The October 4 letter said other reasons included increased costs of relocating Western Power services underground, estimated to be about $350,000, and the lack of complaints from passengers since bus route 438 was redirected to avoid the junction.

Wanneroo councillors are due to consider a recommendation at their November 12 meeting that the mayor write to the transport minister raising concerns about the decision to withdraw the project and asking that the $2.4 million be allocated to the City for road upgrades.